Page last updated at 12:05 GMT, Thursday, 21 January 2010

GM confirms Opel factory closure in Antwerp

GM and Opel logos
GM had previously said it would cut 9,000 jobs in Europe

General Motors (GM) has confirmed it will close a Belgian plant at its European arm Opel, cutting 2,300 jobs.

The CSC metalworkers' union said the carmaker had told staff it would shut down its factory in Antwerp.

"It is the tough reality of the current business environment," Opel president Nick Reilly said.

GM also said 8,300 jobs would be cut across Europe - less than it had previously estimated - with 4,000 to be lost in Germany alone.

In November, GM had said that it would cut about 9,000 jobs in Europe, after cancelling its planned sale of Opel to Canadian car parts maker Magna.

Reduce capacity

The company said it needs to cut Opel's capacity by 20%.

"We have to take a plant out and unfortunately it is Antwerp," Mr Reilly said.

In its November announcement, GM had said 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.

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.

GM has also failed to sell its Swedish car brand Saab and is starting to wind down the operation, though some buyers have still expressed interest in it.

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