GM says main plant in Germany crucial to its plans

AP News
Posted: Nov 25, 2009 6:23 AM

General Motors Co.'s top European official underlined the future importance of Opel's biggest German plant on Wednesday, while reiterating that there likely will be up to 9,500 jobs cut across the continent.

The Ruesselsheim factory in western Germany is not only a manufacturing plant but also a development center for Opel, Nick Reilly said after meeting with the governor of Hesse state, Roland Koch.

The fact that GM Europe is relocating its headquarters from Zurich to Ruesselsheim is "an indication of how important we believe this site will be," Reilly said.

He declined to give details of plans for the future of other Opel sites other than repeating that a restructuring plan is expected to bring up to 9,500 job cuts across Europe.

GM was expected to present details of the plan to employee representatives later in the day.

Reilly has indicated that two other German plants, in Bochum and Kaiserslautern, will remain open, but has not spoken about plans for the fourth German site, in Eisenach.

Opel and sister brand Vauxhall also have plants in countries including Belgium, Britain, Poland and Spain.

GM shocked Germany and other European countries earlier this month by abruptly canceling the planned sale of a majority in Opel to a consortium of Canadian auto parts maker Magna International Inc. and Russian lender Sberbank.

Opel employs around 45,000 people in Europe, about 25,000 of them in Germany.

On Monday, GM asked European governments to help pay most of the euro3.3 billion ($4.9 billion) it needs to restructure its European operations.