GM has guaranteed to safeguard exisiting production and not to transfer production of existing models from west European plants until 2012 but GM Europe spokesmen have told just-auto that the promise does not necessarily guarantee that all plants are safe till then.

“Obviously, it’s a good sign but the document I have seen focuses on capacity not plants,” Opel corporate communications manager Ulrich Weber said. “It doesn’t make statements about specific plants.”

An Opel spokesman earlier told dpa-AFX that capacity would not be expanded in eastern Europe or production relocated there, and that GM would not produce any models for these brands outside of existing plants.

The report said the guarantee covers seven west European plants and 67,000 workers. The Azambuja plant in Portugal will close as planned at the end of the year. The announcement of the closure there prompted stoppages at GM plants across Europe this summer.

In Germany workers were concerned that the Bochum plant was under threat. The deal also guarantees the future of Ellesmere Port in the UK, dpa-AFX said.

But GM UK & Ireland acting communications director Dennis Chick said that he had been told in an executive briefing only last week that no decisions on Ellesmere Port had been made though GM management had acknowledged a major improvement in productivity there in the last year or so.

GM has reduced its European workforce by around 12,000 people this year.