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Fiat to buy out GM share in diesel builder VM Motori

by Andrew Ganz

Fiat is acquiring the other half of an Italian diesel firm it currently splits with General Motors.

Italian automaker Fiat said yesterday that it is planning to buy out General Motors' share of an Italian diesel engine manufacturer. The move would give Fiat total control of VM Motori, the firm that supplies Chrysler with diesel engines for its Ram pickup and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV in the United States.

"GM's notification to exercise its option to sell to Fiat its 50 percent stake in VM Motori SpA is in line with the contracts Fiat entered into when it acquired a 50 percent stake in VM in 2010," the Italian automaker said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

It's not clear what impact Fiat's impending full ownership of VM Motori will have on any future VM-powered GM products. GM discontinued use of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine produced by VM when it replaced that unit by a in-house unit that currently powers the Chevrolet Cruze Turbo Diesel in the U.S.

VM Motori, based in Cento, Italy, not far from where Ferrari and Maserati have their home offices, has passed between numerous owners in its 65 year history. Acquired by Detroit Diesel in 1995, it fell under the ownership of DaimlerChrysler in 2000. Fiat has owned a 50 percent share in the firm since 2011.

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