General Motors has confirmed it will close its Antwerp, Belgium plant at its European arm Opel, cutting 2,300 jobs in the process.
“It is the tough reality of the current business environment,” Opel president Nick Reilly said. “We have to take a plant out and unfortunately it is Antwerp,” he went on.
GM said it needs to cut Opel’s capacity by 20% and needs to streamline production and this is down to CEO Nick Reilly’s assertion that in 2010 Western European car sales will be 1.5 million units less than 2009 levels. He also said they are 4 million cars below the 2007 peak and ‘it is not expected to return anytime soon – if ever – to these peak levels, resulting in significant overcapacity.’
“The decision to announce this today was not taken lightly; instead, it is the unfortunate result of the current business reality. We must make this announcement now so that we can secure a viable future for the entire Opel and Vauxhall operations.” Reilly went on to say.
GM also said 8,300 jobs would be cut across Europe – less than it had previously estimated (in November, GM had said that it would cut about 9,000 jobs in Europe) – with 4,000 of these redundancies in Germany. In the UK, GM has cut 354 jobs at its Vauxhall plant in Luton, but has stated that there would be no cuts at its Ellesmere Port plant, which makes the Vauxhall Astra.
In its November announcement, GM also stated that as well as the Belgian job cuts, some 5,425 jobs in Germany and 900 from its Zaragoza plant in Spain would also go.