German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters in Berlin that she spoke with Obama on Friday, and that he played a significant, though unspecified, role in working out a deal to preserve automaker Opel and much of its German-based operations and employment.

A White House official confirms to FOX that Obama called Merkel on Friday and that the talks were "constructive."

The official adds Obama made no commitments of U.S. tax dollars to make the Opel deal work. 

It is therefore hard to discern how Obama played, as Merkel says, such an important role in the down-to-the-wire negotiations to save Opel.

Opel is part General Motors' European operation and its expected bankruptcy filing on Monday imperiled Opel's future. Many details have yet to emerge on the preservation of Opel and auto analysts still wonder if the company will survive.

What appears clear is that an arrangement to keep Opel alive will save a large number of jobs -- easily in the thousands -- in Germany.

Since the U.S. government will play such a large role in GM's future -- acquiring nearly 75 percent under current bankruptcy plans -- the U.S. role in the Opel deal may become clearer over time.