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Opel CEO Confirms: Mini Car in the Works

German brand Opel, currently awaiting GM's restructuring plan, plans to develop a mini car that would better comply with the current market's demands, interim CEO Nick Reilly said in a statement on Saturday. The car is believed to help the company return to profit, in addition to the many projects already prepared by General Motors for the struggling brand.

"I see gaps which need to be filled. Opel needs a mini; that will be our top priority. I want to clarify that we will also need to continue with light commercial vehicles, that is a reasonable share of our business,"
Reilly said.

"We can take advantage of global technology and look at introducing hybrids. Ampera will be manufactured in Europe. Initially, the car will be imported from the US, but long-term, we are looking for a local source. Ellesmere Port is one of the candidates, but there are others. Also, we will look at battery technology. Electric vehicles will increase the focus on that."

General Motors is believed to cut around 8,500 jobs in Europe, with a single plant currently at risk. The Antwerp factory in Belgium is rumored to be the only one to face the axe, despite local workers' protests who emphasized that they won't accept a possible closure.

"Until we finalize our discussions, we won't make any comments. We will and are looking for alternatives. But bear in mind, we must reduce capacity and we must reduce structural costs. We had plans and an agreement in place, but some plans can't come true in view of the changing business environment. You see in the U.S. how many plants had to be shut down – and there were probably product plans for each one of them. To be sustainable, we must reduce capacity," Reilly commented on the Antwerp plant.

 
 
 
 
 

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