Rüsselsheim, Germany – General Motors has announced it intends to close its Opel manufacturing plant in Antwerp, Belgium in 2010.

Opel will continue to engage in the process with employee representatives regarding the restructuring.

“We fully understand the effect this announcement has on the Antwerp employees and their families and we sympathize with them,” said Nick Reilly, CEO of Opel. “Many have been dedicated to the plant over generations and have done an excellent job producing great quality cars. 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.”

Opel said that to ensure long-term sustainability, it needs to reduce capacity by approximately 20 per cent. The 2010 Western European car market is expected to be 1.5 million vehicles below 2009 levels, and almost four million below its peak in 2007. It is not expected to return to peak levels soon, if ever, resulting in significant overcapacity in general and at Opel in particular.

If the strategy is confirmed, production at the plant will conclude in the next few months. It is expected that the company’s full restructuring plan, when completed, will affect all Opel and Vauxhall production sites with capacity reductions, job redundancies and labour cost reductions.

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