Speculation swirling around the future of Opel ownership has been branded as "terrible" by the automaker's Works Council, although it insisted the situation was "absolutely rumours."

Intense conjecture has centred on whether or not GM could off-load its European division with the matter attracting the attention of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, although the Opel labour representatives are preferring to focus on improved performance of late.

Despite that optimism however, the Works Council conceded such rumours were "terrible" for the company and staff, while it called for clarification of the situation.

"It is terrible for the brand and for the employees, so hopefully we can clarify everything," Opel Works Council chairman Klaus Franz told just-auto from Germany.

"I don't give any comment to such rumours and I don't want to make it more interesting than it is in reality.

Franz highlighted Opel's success in the UK with its Vauxhall business, as well as in Western Europe with the launch of three new models this year, adding he hoped the automaker would return to "black figures" by the end of 2011.

Merkel's office in Berlin emailed just-auto comments made by her spokesman concerning Opel and confirmed Franz had written to the Chancellor.

The spokesman said Merkel was aware of "the mood of Opel employees," but that no official contact was being made with General Motors.

Further speculation saw reports noting GM CEO Dan Akerson had spoken to Opel CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke and although the Russelsheim-based operation declined to comment directly, it confirmed it had seen press speculation.

"There were some reports today in the German media [about Akerson and Stracke], but we have no comment on that," an Opel spokesman told just-auto from Germany.

"We go on saying speculation and we are not comment[ing] on this speculation."

COMMENT: Clarity needed on GM and Opel