GM's Opel Job Cuts: 8,300 Positions To Be Eliminated In Europe

GM's Opel Job Cuts: 8,300 Positions To Be Eliminated In Europe http://tinyurl.com/y9q73uz
BRUSSELS General Motors Co.'s Opel unit will cut 8,300 jobs across
Europe, including 4,000 in Germany, and close a plant in Antwerp, Belgium casualties of the "tough reality" of a shrinking European auto market.
Opel head Nick Reilly said Thursday that the Antwerp plant had to go, with the loss of 2,606 jobs, because the company needs to shed 20 percent of its manufacturing capacity. That's because far fewer cars are being sold as a result of the recession.
"We have to take a plant out and unfortunately it's Antwerp," Reilly said at a press conference in Brussels. "It is the tough reality of the current business environment."
He said Antwerp would be the only Opel plant in Europe to shut down but warned that none of the company's German factories would escape "substantial" job cuts.
The company is still in talks with European governments including Germany about some euro2.7 billion (in state subsidies it wants as part of the euro3.3 billion it plans to spend on restructuring. Reilly said GM is already contributing euro600 million and may add more.
Berlin angered other European governments last year by offering a multibillion euro (dollar) subsidy package for a potential buyer for Opel that was reportedly linked to promises to save jobs in Germany.
European Union regulators told the German government it could not give the company money to reduce jobs in one location and not another, ordering them to also offer any subsidies to other buyers or for GM to keep the plant. That forced GM's hand and it dropped plans to sell Opel.
The Antwerp factory, founded in 1924, has already shrunk from employing 7,000 workers at its peak to around a third of that today. It produces the Astra three-door, convertible and station-wagon versions, almost all of them for delivery outside Belgium. Story continues below
Reilly said GM had decided to shut down Antwerp by the middle of the year because the cars it makes can also be produced elsewhere and it would be too costly to shut another factory and shift its output to Belgium.
The Belgian government had tried to stave off the Antwerp plant's closure by earlier this year offering the company up to euro500 million ($707 million) to upgrade the facilities.
Reilly said the economic crisis means western European car markets will likely sell 1.5 million fewer cars this year than in 2009, or around 12 million, down from 13.6 million last year. This is a sharp fall from the 14.7 million sold in 2006 and 2007.
"We're pretty sure it's not going to go back to the kind of volumes we had in the past," he said. "We are losing money and we have to do something about it."
General Motors' sales in Europe have suffered more than the rest of the industry, falling 5.6 percent last year from 2008 well below a 0.5 percent yearly gain for the entire car sector.
The company has lost market share in Europe, down two percentage points to 8.3 percent in 2009, as it failed to jump on the trend for smaller, fuel-efficient cars favored by cash-for-clunkers programs and cash-conscious buyers and
The GM cutbacks were a hard blow for Opel workers in Antwerp and automotive supply companies that employ 10,000 workers.
"Some cried, some said finally, at least we know what we are up against, what our future is going to be," Werner Dillen, a spokesman for the Opel Antwerp trade union told Associated Press television.
The news wasn't a total surprise as there has been talk of Antwerp closing for several years. Achmed Teghmas, a worker at the plant, said "it has been two, three years that everybody says this plant will shut down."
Reilly said he expected workers would be "potentially angry for a time" but said he did not anticipate industrial action because they still had cars to build over coming months.
Opel's trade unions across Europe said in a statement that the company was breaking a commitment to make a small new sport utility vehicle at Antwerp that it will instead make it in South Korea.
Reilly said the economic crisis has forced the company to change its plans and that SUVs are no longer big sellers. The heavy gas-guzzlers have lost market share to smaller models.
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On 21/01/2010 3:23 PM, Jim Higgins wrote:

Good move, but probably too late to save GM.
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It will have no effect of GM, dummy. Opel is owned by General Motors and is in the process of being sold by the bankruptcy court. GM is comprised of Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC, dummy

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Mike, you need to read the latest news. GM is not selling Opel. They decided to keep Opel.
From http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125728725957326159.html :
"In a dramatic change of course, General Motors Co. backed out of a deal to sell the company's European operations to car-parts supplier Magna International Inc., and now plans to spend billions to restructure the money-losing business itself.
"The decision to keep control of Opel of Germany and its British sister company Vauxhall was made at a board meeting Tuesday in which the company's directors strayed from the plan of Chief Executive Frederick "Fritz" Henderson, who had spent months negotiating the Magna agreement...."
Also see: http://media.gm.com/content/media/intl/en/news/news_detail.brand_opel.html/content/Pages/news/intl/en/2009/OPEL/12_04_nick_reilly_named
You really should not call people "dummy" right after you spouted misinformation.
And there is more to GM than just "Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC."
Ed
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Duh, the new GM does NOT OWN Opel! Opel as well as SAAB, Pontiac, Hummer and "General Motors" former closed facilities, are owned by "General Motors" and it is in receivership, thus "owned" by the bankruptcy court that is in charge of overseeing the disposal of its remaining assets.
Ever time there is something done by the court with "General Motors," as a stockholder of "General Motors," I am on the list of its "debtors" and thus receive notice from the bankruptcy court in the event there would be anything for US in the final destitution by the court. THAT will never happen!
GM is now comprised of Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC, period of which I own zilch.

http://media.gm.com/content/media/intl/en/news/news_detail.brand_opel.html/content/Pages/news/intl/en/2009/OPEL/12_04_nick_reilly_named
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