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GM to save Opel factories

2012-06-14 09:02

BERLIN, Germany - General Motors reprieved a German car factory which has been under threat of closure, stating that the company would retain it and three other Opel factories in Germany.

Workers at the Bochum plant feared it would be closed by 2014, as loss-making Opel and Vauxhall struggle to reduce manufacturing costs.

In a joint statement by the local GM subsidiary Adam Opel AG, the company labour relations council and the IG Metall trade union said savings would be achieved on operations in Germany without immediate plant closures or layoffs.

ZAFIRA LIFE LINE

The Bochum factory, often seen as the most vulnerable site, would remain in operation at least as long as the current model of the Opel Zafira was to be produced. It is not due to be replaced by a new model until the end of 2016.

Government officials were concerned that Opel might axe the plant at the end of 2014, when a deal with labour groups to preserve jobs expires, creating political embarrassment. Other automakers in Germany are financially robust, but Opel has been dogged by problems.

The statement said labour and management would begin talks on terms to keep the plant operating until late 2016.

In May 2012, General Motors announced a new model of its biggest selling model, the Astra, would be built exclusively by its Vauxhall factory at Ellesmere Port in England and at plants in Poland.

Opel said it would cease manufacturing the Astra at its plant in Ruesselsheim, west of Frankfurt, but assured German labour groups it would continue to run the site at full capacity.

The company will be offering to assemble cars for rival companies at its German sites.

DPA