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GM says it will keep open all its German Opel plants

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GM says it will keep open all its German Opel plants

STAFF

AND WIRE REPORTS

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE

NOVEMBER 25, 2009 14:01 CET

MUNICH -- General Motors Co. will keep open all four of its Opel factories in Germany under a 3.3 billion euro ($4.92 billion) restructuring plan for the money-losing unit.

GM aims to reduce its production across Europe by between 20 percent and 25 percent -- the equivalent of three plants -- as part of a reorganization of the money-losing division.

Opel factories at Eisenach and Bochum, along with a factory in Antwerp, Belgium, were regarded as most at risk of closure.

The future of the Antwerp factory cold become clearer later on Wednesday when acting Opel CEO Nick Reilly presents a restructuring plan which GM hopes will get the struggling unit back on track.

Reilly has completed a tour of Opel's German plants during which he pledged to local politicians that none would be shut down.

Meeting state premiers on Tuesday at Opel's Ruesselsheim headquarters, Reilly sought to reassure German workers -- which make up around half of Opel's 50,000 headcount.

"We have transferred our European headquarters to Ruesselsheim. That shows how important this site will be for us in future," he told reporters after meeting Hesse state premier Roland Koch. He added that Opel's Eisenach plant was also very important.

No aid pledges

Reilly said GM had not yet received any binding commitments for state aid to help finance the reorganization. Opel had pledges of state support from countries and regions with production sites when it was due to be sold to Canadian supplier Magna International Inc.

Reilly said earlier this week that the group would cut between 9,000 and 9,500 jobs at Opel and British sister brand Vauxhall.

GM earlier this month backtracked on plans to sell Opel to a consortium led by Magna and Russian state lender Sberbank.

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