Opel Intends to Close Antwerp Facility Brussels/Rüsselsheim. As Opel moves quickly on its way towards a viable future, the company announced today the intent to wind down its manufacturing plant in Antwerp, Belgium in the course of 2010.
Opel will continue to engage in the official information and consultation process with employee representatives regarding the envisaged restructuring.
“We fully understand the effect this announcement has on the Antwerp employees and their families and we sympathize with them,” said Opel CEO Nick Reilly. “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.”
The global economic crisis has led to a major downturn in the automotive industry. The Western European car market in 2010 is expected to be 1.5 million vehicles below 2009 levels and almost 4 million below its peak in 2007. It is not expected to return anytime soon – if ever – to these peak levels, resulting in significant overcapacity in general and at Opel in particular. To ensure long-term sustainability for the company, Opel needs to reduce capacity by approximately 20 percent.
In view of current capacity utilization at all European Opel and Vauxhall plants, planned future product portfolio, timing requirements and financial impact, winding down the Antwerp plant would be the most logical approach for the company. If confirmed, production would conclude in the next few months.
It is expected that the full restructuring plan, when completed, will affect all Opel and Vauxhall production sites and entities through such measures as capacity reductions, job redundancies and labor cost reductions. More details will be announced in due time.
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