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Ford has no problem with Magna’s planned purchase of a majority stake in Detroit rival General Motors’ European unit Opel.

“Our ability to compete worldwide remains intact and we feel very good about it,” chairman William Clay Ford Jr was quoted as saying.

Magna’s stake in the European operation would not stop Ford from doing business with the Canadian company in its role as a critical supplier, Ford said.

“I’ve talked to (Magna) personally about it and for now we feel very comfortable about it. They’re an excellent supplier for us and we have a very good relationship and an excellent partnership,” he said, adding he expected Magna to be “a very good operator” for Opel.

“We love our competitive position globally,” said Ford, although he stressed caution for the outlook of the US economy, still recovering from a devastating recession that crippled the auto industry.

“I don’t think we’ll have a good read (of the future) until our dealers are re-stocked,” the chairman said, according to AFP. “Obviously there are still issues in the financial system but the absolute gridlock… has receded dramatically.”

“They are an excellent supplier for us,” Ford told Reuters of the Canadian auto parts supplier. “We have a very good relationship, we have a great partnership and they have clearly said that they will respect intellectual property and we believe them.”

He added that Magna would be a good operator for the Opel and Vauxhall brands and taken seriously as a competitor.