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2012-12-11 07:50

THE END OF AN ERA: The current Zafira will be the last car produced in Opel's plant in Bochum, Germany.

BOCHUM, Germany - General Motors's Opel brand told employees on Monday it plans to end vehicle production here in June 2016 — an announcement that had been expected for months.

The company, the Detroit News reported, said it did not plan to give the plant another product once the Zafira ended its life cycle, given Europe's shrinking vehicle market and over-capacity.

TIGHTENING THE BELT

The plant has about 3100 employees, some of whom might be employed at a warehouse at Bochum; component manufacture is also being considered. Others will get what Opel describes as "attractive separation packages".

Opel's deputy CEO Thomas Sedran said: "Germany is our most important market and, with 20 000 employees, the backbone and home of our brand. It will stay that way."

GM is working to correct huge losses in Europe but intends to break even in 2015.

In late October 2012 GM announced it had cut 2300 jobs through to 2012 and planned to cut another 300 by the end of the year. GM and Opel say they are working to shrink inventory and improve capacity use and want to trim fixed costs in 2012 by more than R2.5-billion in Europe, plus another R4-billion by 2015.

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