Home News UPDATE3: Opel Antwerp plant closes

UPDATE3: Opel Antwerp plant closes

By Nico Schmidt

FRANKFURT / BRUSSELS (Dow Jones) – The U.S. automakers General Motors (GM) as part of the reorganization, as expected, the Opel plant in Antwerp, Belgium close. The production will be during the year 2010 set, "said Opel Chairman and CEO Nick Reilly on Thursday. As a possible date, the manager called the mid-year. Further factory closures are from today’s perspective, not to expect.

Reilly said the decision was not easy. The Closure of Antwerp, but was a necessary step on the way to Reconstruction of Opel and was reflected "the harsh reality of the current Business situation "against," said the manager with a view of the massive Capacity in Europe.

Opel expects after the expiry of the scrapping premiums Most countries in 2010 with a weak trend the Western European automobile market. According to by Reilly, the market is this year compared to last year by 1.5 Million vehicles are shrinking, and thus about 4 million units under the Record level of 2007 is expected. Short term at least the expected Opel’s chief executive does not rest on the pre-crisis levels.

The choice fell on Antwerp, as the cars produced there could also be manufactured at other sites, Reilly said. In the work will be different models of the Astra range – including the And the three-door convertible – manufactured. 2009 were there, 88,873 cars produced. Currently 2,600 employees work in Antwerp, or about 5% of entire Opel / Vauxhall workers in Europe.

The site is already there for a long time to disposition. In The short version of Opel’s restructuring plan ( "Plan Viability VI ") was the closure of the site in the first half 2010, speech. The production of the Astra is thus shifted to Bochum been.

Ganz had engaged in Antwerp Opelaner the But not yet given up hope: The new management had always stressed to search for alternatives to a closure. Let hard, but unsuccessfully been worked out, a different solution find for the site, said Reilly now. The cost of the planned Plant closing, he expressed no view. Opel wanted to try a To find buyers for the site.

The capacity of its sister brand Opel and Vauxhall will decrease according to the will of GM by about one fifth. These are around 8,300 jobs will be eliminated, about 4,000 of them in Germany. For Opel and Vauxhall to work across Europe around 48,000 people. A good Half of which is at the headquarters in Rüsselsheim, and the other German plants in Bochum and Eisenach and Kaiserslautern busy.

The workers’ representatives to the joint works council chief Klaus Francis had repeatedly made clear to plant closures and does not accept compulsory redundancies. According outraged they reacted after the announcement of the closure of intent. The true Reason for the decision were not over-capacity but the planned relocation of production, according to a Opel’s opinion of the European Employee Forum (EEF). How should the planned small SUV as planned and contractual agreed to produce in Antwerp but from South Korea to Europe be delivered.

The closure of Antwerp could thus new Difficulties in the already faltering negotiations between the management and workers’ representatives bring with them. The new Opel Managing Director Nick Reilly calls for a reorganization of the Opelanern contribution of 265 million EUR per Year. In return, the employees to demand in addition to the waiver Layoffs and plant closures, involved in the new company being, and greater participation by Conversion of Adam Opel GmbH, a joint stock company (AG). Accordingly workers, reiterate in case of closure of Antwerp do not contribute to want to clean up.


Websites: www.opel.de

-By Nico Schmidt and Alessandro Torello, Dow Jones Newswires
+49 (0) 69 - 29725 114, nico.schmidt @ dowjones.com
DJG / ncs / jhe
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 21, 2010 07:55 ET (12:55 GMT)

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