Opel car sales jump by a third this year

FRANKFURT: Sales by the troubled German automaker Opel jumped by nearly a third in the period from January to July thanks to state aid for new car purchases, company figures showed on Friday.

In the first seven months of 2009, Opel sold 219,000 vehicles, an increase of 32 percent from the figure in the same period last year, a statement said.

Opel has benefited from a "cash for clunkers" scheme that has boosted small car sales in Germany by offering a government subsidy for those who turn in old cars and buy a new one.

But the automaker's future is to be determined in the coming weeks, in the form of a provisional accord between its parent group, General Motors, and one of two suitors.

Both the Canadian auto parts maker Magna and the Belgian-based investment fund RHJ International have filed former offers for the German car maker.

GM and the German government, which would back a deal with substiantial financial aid, have found it hard to reach agreement on who Opel should be sold to.