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GM will phase out European headquarters in Zurich

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GM will phase out European headquarters in Zurich

MICHAEL KNAUER

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

DECEMBER 15, 2009 - 12:01 AM ET

General Motors Co. will dissolve its European headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, instead of moving operations to Opel's headquarters in Ruesselsheim, near Frankfurt, Germany.

When GM decided to keep Opel instead of selling a majority stake in the carmaker to Magna International Inc. and Russia's Sberbank, the Detroit automaker said its European base would move to Ruesselsheim.

GM has now backpedaled.

"GM's European headquarters in Zurich is basically being dissolved and isn't moving to Ruesselsheim," Opel spokesman Stefan Weinmann told Automobilwoche.

New Opel CEO and GM Europe President Nick Reilly also acknowledged this. "We aren't going back to the former GM Europe organization," he said.

GM wants to give its individual brands more room to maneuver, Reilly said.

In fact, it is just Reilly and his closest team members who are moving to Ruesselsheim. Most of GM Europe's 150 employees are back at their national organizations and have taken on new responsibilities there, Weinmann said.

Several have also taken new jobs at the remaining GM units in Zurich, and about a dozen have left GM.

Chevrolet's European headquarters, with its roughly 85 employees, will stay in Zurich, along with Opel's and Chevrolet's sales organizations for Switzerland.

Chevrolet Europe's head Wayne Brannon will report to Reilly.

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