The European financial crisis has claimed another victim, as Opel has stated that it is going to close its Bochum, Germany facility. The closure is set to occur in 2016, when the current Opel Zafira minivan ends its production run. According to Automotive News Europe, parent company General Motors is looking to minimize the impact to the 3,300-strong workforce by adapting the plant to focus on component and distribution efforts.

According to the report, GM believes the economy in Europe will not recover until 2014, and that this move was unavoidable. GM expects losses of between $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion from its Opel and Vauxhall brands in Europe. To try and stem the hemorrhaging, Opel is forced to lay off 2,600 employees, resulting in a $300 million spending cut. Another $500 million in cost cutting is excepted between from to 2013, through 2015 as part of a plan called Drive Opel 2022. The decade-long plan is rooted in cost-cutting, reorganization, and re-focusing products and marketing. As part of this plan, Opel will launch 23 new models between now and 2016.

Still, the plant closure comes as a blow to many Opel employees, and the labor union has hopes to save the Bochum facility. Unions, as well as the German Government, expect General Motors to compensate those who lose their jobs in this closure with appropriate severance packages. GM Europe stated that it is trying to move component production to the Ruhr Valley region, where the Bochum factory is located. It will be able to save some jobs through this effort, though certainly not all 3,300.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      resonic
      • 2 Years Ago
      As a german i can tell you the major problem is a whole different thing: Besides of very bad sales figures the biggest issue is is that the Bochumer plant is pretty old. The plants in Eisenach and Rüsselsheim were upgraded to modern standards while the Bochum plant wasnt because some buildings are under preservation of sites of historic interest which makes it pretty expensive and difficult to upgrade the plant. In fact its cheaper to invest into modern plants or build something completly new instead of trying to keep Bochum alive.
        nassau
        • 2 Years Ago
        @resonic
        Thanks for doing AB's job. No one else provided this explanation.
        carfan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @resonic
        the entire Ruhr valley should become a museum of the industrial past (including this factory)
      Goerch
      • 2 Years Ago
      The fact that Opel has to close the plant in Bochum is obviously a result of less than impressive sales. Which is a tad surprising as they have come up with quite a technologically and visually convincing new line of models over the past couple of years. So why did they sell so bad? Because GM, Opel's mother prohibtited them to sell their cars outside of (the saturated and economy wise badly hit) Europe(an market). A lot of the sales increase in the automotive industry is happening right now in other regions, namely China, India, Brazil, Indonesia etc. where GM prefers to put their Chevrolets and ex-Daewoos on the market and want to avoid cannibalization with their own, technologically superior products form Germany. The result being the loss of thousands of jobs due to company politics.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Goerch
        [blocked]
        Val
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Goerch
        Opels are built from CKDs in russia, central asia, ukraine and so on. It is an illusion that a car made in germany can be shipped to india, china or brazil, and be sold at a profit there. All of these countries have huge tariffs for imported vehicles, which forces manufacturers to build cars locally. Only expensive cars like BMW and Mercedes can be realistically made in germany and sold there. The fact that they can only sell on the european market doesn't explain their weak performance in europe, worse than the average. VW, Skoda, Kia, Hyundai are doing pretty well in europe. Opel vehicles may have improved greatly in terms of design and build quality, but they still have a bad reputation from years of mediocre models. The reason they decided to change the name of the new vectra to insignia, was the stigma associated with the name vectra.
      Scr
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow...2016. That is remarkably fast and nimble for a company that is bleeding from the jugular (sarcasm). Just make sure there is enough blood left 4 years from now for there even to be an Opel. I guess GM didn't learn from its last bankruptcy. You have to move quickly and cut your losses, including shedding plants, to make things more efficient and adjust to the market. I smell another bailout.
        Val
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Scr
        The reason it's 2016 is that GM promised to keep it open till then, probably against some form of financial aid from local and federal government.
      Val
      • 2 Years Ago
      How is that a surprise? There has been talk of closing this particular plant since 2003. During the GM bankruptcy, Merkel tried to sell opel to the russians, promising them billions of euro to keep jobs in germany. Meanwhile she said she is unwilling to give he money to GM, as the money could go to the US and help GM there.... as if the russians promising anything is going to prevent them from doing the exact same thing. Anyway, GM said they will keep opel, and cut a deal with the union and government to keep the plant open until at least 2016. Only people that were very high on dutch weed would think that GM would keep the plant open a day longer than the promised date in 2016. And now it is somehow a huge surprise and a blow to everyone. Btw, the plant in poland that is making the current opel astra is chugging along quite nicely. Europe has huge overcapacity, and manufacturers need to either close a few plants now, or close all of them when they go broke. Nothing can be done about that, either capacity has to be cut, or demand has to go way up, from some crazy government program that would have the EU governments pay for half the price of every new car... for the next 5 years. Which no government can even afford.
        Val
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Val
        And the deal didn't go through, yet germany still gets gas form russia. In fact russia will build an extension of the north stream pipeline to germany. ALL is a bit too much, netherlands, UK, norway don't really depend on russian gas, and germany gets less than 50% if its gas from russia.
        sparrk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Val
        The deal with the Russians was more complex. All of Europe depends on Russian gas.
      Think Free
      • 2 Years Ago
      Socialism is great until you run out of other people's money. Margret Thatcher.
        sparrk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Think Free
        Tell that to the Scandinavian countries.
          Val
          • 2 Years Ago
          @sparrk
          you mean like swedenm that ran out of money in the 90s and hat to make reforms that allowed many of the losing businesses to go bankrupt or be privatized? Or denmark, where any employer can fire immediately anyone without compensation.
        Daniel D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Think Free
        You are aware of the US energy sector? Just your reference to other peoples money.
      Drakkon
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hey! No Bochum. Don't get any ideas.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Brodz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ummm what video?
      DeathKnoT
      • 2 Years Ago
      I just don't understand why GM is taking its time to close plants.Oh well. When i was in the Netherlands and Belgium 6 months ago i saw tons of opels. Everywhere. For awhile i was like what are those, and i figured it out. I was surprised as they look unlike GM products i'm used to see around here. Which are just now starting to look decent. The new corporate chev grill on the impala is looking nice. Glad to see the cruze will be getting it along with a diesel at the same time. The opels sold as buicks are nice but the buick logo killed what were beautiful cars. On a side note the opel logo is awesome and looks great on a car.
      whofan
      • 2 Years Ago
      I was stationed in Germany in the early 90`s. I had a 1977 Opel Manta GTE. That car was fun to drive. I hope things in Europe turn around and Opel comes out ok. GM can not afford to keep bleeding. They will not get another new lease on life again, not any time soon anyway.
    • Load More Comments