After weeks of negotiations and rumours of imminent legal action, the board of Fiat, the Italian vehicle-makers, and that of General Motors, one of Americas leading car manufacturers, have announced that they have reached a deal whereby General Motors will pay 1.55 billion to Fiat and return the 10 per cent stake that they hold in the Italian company. In return GM will be released from an agreement, signed in March 2000, which gave Fiat the chance to exercise a put option, forcing General Motors to buy 80 per cent of the Fiat car group by July 2009. In exchange the American company will become 50 per cent owners of a factory at Bielsko Biala in Poland, where Fiat makes diesel engines.