General Motors appears willing to help Europeans to save the automaker’s Opel unit, Germany’s economy minister has said.

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, speaking to Reuters after talks with GM CEO Rick Wagoner in Washington yesterday (16 March), said it was essential for GM to find a private investor and one scenario could involve GM taking a minority stake in Opel.

Germany is open to the possibility of helping Opel, the report added, but has said it needed to be sure no state support would find its way to GM, which is seeking more bailout help from the US government to survive.

Opel has said it needs EUR3.3bn in financial guarantees from European governments where it has factories to avoid a liquidity crunch in the coming months.

On Tuesday, Guttenberg is scheduled to meet Timothy Geithner, secretary of the US treasury, Larry Summers, director of the National Economic Council, Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, president of the International Monetary Fund.

According to the German embassy in Washington, the meetings “will focus on the situation of General Motors and [Opel], as well as other GM subsidiaries in Europe and the international economic and financial crisis”.