After months of speculation over rumours on the continent, the German production company Opel has confirmed it is to axe 3,000 jobs at its Bochum plant.
General Motors this week announced that production of cars in the Ruhr will end in 2016, but is still exploring other functions such as parts distribution, which it’s hoped will save some of the workforce from mass layoffs.
2016 is the year that the current life cycle of the Zafira model is expected to end. As the Zafira is Bochum’s main on going production, its termination due to declining demand will dramatically impact the factory’s productivity; forcing its closure. Other factories are feeling the pinch too; with widespread closures affecting many other European nations and throwing the industry’s immediate future into huge uncertainty.
"The main reasons [for closure] are the dramatic declines in the European car market and the enormous overcapacity in the entire European auto industry," said a statement released by GM. Following a previous announcement in June that operations were to wind down at Bochum, members of the workforce met with executives of GM to discuss job-saving measures which would still financially benefit the company – GM had previously announced that they are facing losses in Europe of about $1.5 billion for the financial year.
Philipp R?sler the German Economics minister has openly expressed disappointment at the closure of the Opel Bochum plant however, both federal and regional politicians have stated the will not offer the failing plant a financial boost. R?sler explained that this is because General Motors have committed significant ‘blunders’ in the past when dealing with the plant’s running, and do not feel that GM have taken steps to rescue the factory themselves.
The company is trying to put Opel and Vaxaull back on the map and hopes to make them profitable by 2015; earlier reports published say that the UK is the only major country to have gained ground on European car sales in the past decade.