General Motors Corp. Chief Executive Rick Wagoner said he was open to an alliance with Renault-Nissan and made clear that talks could be extended beyond a mid-October deadline set by the carmakers.
Talks with his opposite number at Renault and Nissan Motor Co Ltd had gone well and the U.S. carmaker was open to an alliance, but GM's own restructuring plan was what will save it, Wagoner told reporters on Thursday at the Paris auto show.
You will see a conclusion, which could range from continued studies to a decision to proceed or a decision not to proceed, Wagoner said of the October 15 deadline set by the carmakers.
He also said GM does not share any special information with the U.S. automaker's largest shareholder, Kirk Kerkorian, who proposed the three-way alliance in the first place.
Wagoner was positive about progress in turning around GM, which has been hit by huge losses and a dramatic fall in its U.S. market share. Japan's Toyota Motor Corp is on track to overtake GM as the world's largest automaker by volume.
GM lost $10.6 billion last year, but has been making progress in cost cutting in recent months, which has increased doubts over whether it will now agree to the sweeping global deal with France's Renault and Japan's Nissan outlined by Carlos Ghosn, who is CEO of both companies.
We have made it very clear that we have a pretty detailed turnaround and growth strategy for GM which is working very well and that is what is going to save the company and make the company prosperous, Wagoner said.
It's moving along really at breakneck speed ... (it's) impressive to see the support and reaction we have got across the board, Wagoner said of the restructuring plan's progress.
Wagoner met Ghosn in Paris on Wednesday to discuss the possible alliance. Earlier he said talks had gone well and that he expected to reach a conclusion by October 15.
We took the time to be updated on the work of the team. (It) was a very fact-based conversation. The teams are continuing to do the work and will reach a conclusion by October 15 and we will decide what the next steps are, Wagoner said.
There's been a pretty thoughtful process around the synergies, the GM CEO said after a GM event at the Paris auto show, a major event in the car industry's calendar.
We are wide open to that, Wagoner said, with reference to alliances with other carmakers.
He also said he was optimistic about talks with bankrupt U.S. auto parts maker Delphi Corp . GM, Delphi and its unions are trying to negotiate a new labor contract to avoid a court ruling that could lead to a strike.
There are still some issues to work through but I see continued progress. We remain optimistic that by far the best solution is one we all negotiate around the table. I continue to be optimistic that we can do that, Wagoner said.
He welcomed the fact that on Wednesday some 62 percent of Delphi's U.S. union workers had opted out of the company through retirements or buyouts.
That doesn't solve the issue but it is a big help.