The head of General Motors' German unit Opel has told Reuters that a merger with the Fiat car business was not on the cards at the moment.

"A merger is not currently on the horizon," Opel chief executive officer Carl-Peter Forster told the news agency.

Analysts have told Reuters that deeper consolidation between Fiat Auto and Opel, which already cooperate on powertrains and purchasing, has become less likely due to a legal spat between the Italian firm and GM.

The news agency noted that Fiat announced a €5 billion recapitalisation for its car division in February, which GM argues voids an option that allows Fiat to force GM to buy the Italian group out of its car division.

But Fiat argues the option is still valid and has said it could seek compensation if GM refuses the option, Reuters added.

Reuters said Forster talked up the benefits of the joint ventures and said he was happy to have Fiat as a partner.

"Fiat is an important partner for us. We already manage 70-75% of the overall cost of a car together," he reportedly said, adding: "We have the biggest possible interest in our partner doing well."

According to Reuters, Forster said the two companies were jointly developing components for their small Corsa and Punto models but declined to say whether there could be any further co-operation.

However, Dow Jones reported that Forster said that co-operation could be widened to Fiat's Stilo and Opel's Astra.

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