GM ASKS SAATCHI &SAATCHI TO JOIN BID FOR ASTRA IN EUROPE

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General Motors Corp. has invited Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, Frankfurt, to pitch for the pan-European relaunch of the Astra.

Lowe Group currently handles GM in Germany and the U.K., while McCann-Erickson Worldwide handles the rest of Europe.

If Saatchi & Saatchi in Frankfurt won the assignment, the two roster agencies -- both owned by Interpublic Group of Cos. -- would adapt Saatchi's creative work. That's because Saatchi & Saatchi is restricted from working on car accounts outside of Germany, since it works for Toyota Motor Corp. in some European markets -- and the U.S. -- and Renault in Spain and Italy.

GM's German subsidiary Adam Opel is thought to favor Saatchi's Frankfurt office, which has made some impressive performances in some recent car-account pitches. In April, it nearly beat DDB Needham Worldwide for the Volkswagen account in Germany.

BOWED OUT OF SEAT

Volkswagen later asked Saatchi & Saatchi to pitch for European advertising for its Spanish subsidiary SEAT, but the German agency decided to remove itself from the review.

In addition to McCann, Lowe and Saatchi & Saatchi, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe,

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