GM to Keep Opel Plant in Germany

Plant employs 5,200

General Motors will keep open Opel's Bochum plant in western Germany, the head of the U.S. firm's European division, Nick Reilly, said on Nov. 24.

The plant, employing almost 5,200 people near Essen will remain "an important location in the future," Reilly said after talks with the premier of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia where the site is located.

Astra and Zafira cars are assembled at the plant, which also makes axles and gearboxes. It is one of four Opel plants in Germany, employing between them around 25,000 people, half the European total.

GM agreed in September to sell a majority stake in Opel, which includes Vauxhall in Britain, to Canadian auto parts maker Magna and Russian state-owned lender Sberbank.

But it has since decided that it wants to keep the loss-making unit and restructure itself, with the loss of around 10,000 jobs across Europe. It has not yet said where the jobs will be cut and which plants will be closed.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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