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GM Europe boss outlines first details for the future

Nick Reilly, Opel/Vauxhall chief executive officer, has revealed the first small details of GM’s plan to make both brands viable again.

Reilly underscored that no final decisions have yet been made. The company will soon begin the information-sharing and consultation phase with all stakeholders.

He said: “We must create a sustainable, viable business plan for Opel/Vauxhall. The competition is intense and getting fiercer every day. We have to reduce our costs. We must fight hard to keep our manufacturing operations in Europe viable."

Ellesmere Port employees have already been advised that GM Europe is planning to add in a third production shift in 2011.

Under the plans, 354 jobs would go at Vauxhall's Luton plant.

The current plan is for no redundancies at Ellesmere Port because of this new third shift. Plant and trade union senior leadership will now work together to develop the details of the plan in order to support the future strategy for Ellesmere Port.

Opel/Vauxhall has to reduce capacity by around 20%. That could mean a reduction of approximately 9,000 jobs in Europe, he said.

Reilly is setting up a working group for GM Europe’s factory in Antwerp, Belgium, whose future is “uncertain” but all alternatives are being considered.

The company agreed to make no unilateral decisions during the information and consultation period, but Reilly added that the company was aiming for closure of the discussion by years’ end – it is in the best interests of the employees and company alike.

He said: “We all have the same objective: To create a viable, sustainable company. This is very do-able. I look forward to further cooperation with employee representatives.”

Regarding state aid, Reilly said the restructuring required approximately €3.3 billion to help Opel/Vauxhall get through the economic crisis in the ensuing year and to invest in new products and plants so that the company can move forward.

GM will participate in the funding of that amount but the company also counts on support from employees and hopes to receive support from governments as well.

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