GERMANY: Opel supervisory board signs off Bochum closure
General Motors' Opel supervisory board has approved plans to close the car plant in Bochum, Germany, at the end of 2014 after workers rejected a deal that would have kept the factory going as a parts facility.
The board decision was made in a statement cited by local news media.
GM's European operations, which include Vauxhall in the UK, have accumulated US$18bn in losses since 1999, Bloomberg News noted. The carmaker has vowed to break even in Europe by 2015, including plans to invest EUR4bn (US$5.2bn) mainly to bring out 23 new models and 13 engines in three years.
Combined Opel and Vauxhall first-quarter sales in the region declined 7.9% to 208,994 vehicles, according to trade group figures cited by Bloomberg. European industrywide deliveries fell 9.7%.
Workers at Bochum voted in March against forgoing pay raises in exchange for maintaining production until the end of 2016 of the Zafira minivan at the site. GM tied the agreement to a plan to expand a logistics centre at Bochum and replace auto production there with parts production after 2016 that would have maintained 1,200 of the factory's more than 3,000 jobs.
The employment-preservation plan is "off the table" after the concessions were rejected, Opel spokesman Ulrich Weber told Bloomberg. The carmaker has no plans to wind down the Bochum logistics centre, he said.