Opel: Plant in Antwerp to be closed

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'We are aware of the significance this announcement has for the employees in Antwerp and their families, and we feel for them,' said Opel boss Nick Reilly. If the intention to close is confirmed, production would be phased out in the coming months, the statement said. The Flemish TV broadcaster VRT also reported that the factory should stop working at the end of June.

A total of 4,000 jobs are to be cut in Germany, around 8,300 across Europe, said Opel boss Nick Reilly in Brussels. With the decision, the management is going on an open confrontation course with the workforce, who have made their own restructuring contributions dependent on not having to close locations.

First Opel plant closure in Europe

In the plant with around 2,600 employees, the Opel Astra manufactured. This is the first time an Opel plant has been closed in Europe. The Opel crisis has thus reached a new high point. The closure announcement came as no surprise. It had been known for a long time that the Opel parent company General Motors (GM) wanted to close the location.

The Western European vehicle market this year will comprise around 1.5 million fewer cars than in 2009 and around four million fewer vehicles than at its peak in 2007. It is not to be expected that the market will in the near future or ever return to that level. This leads to a considerable overcapacity in the industry and in particular at Opel. Therefore, Opel has to reduce its capacities by around 20 percent.

According to earlier works council information from Germany, Opel's restructuring plan provides for around 8,300 of the 48,000 jobs in Europe to be cut this year, mainly in Germany and Belgium.

Antwerp has been building since 1925

General Motors Belgium and Opel have produced more than 13 million cars in the Antwerp plant since 1925. The first model was still under the brand Chevrolet from Tape. Various models followed such as Manta , Ascona , Kadett or Vectra . Only one model has been built in Belgium for ten years, the Opel Astra in the three-door, twintop and caravan versions. The number of employees has decreased from around 12,000 since the beginning of the 1980s to the most recently officially revised 2606. While 329,000 vehicles left the assembly line in 2000, in 2009 the figure was only around 89,000. 96 percent of production was intended for export.


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