- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 28, 2009

FRANKFURT, Germany | General Motors Co.’s top European official said Friday that a plan for Opel, to be unveiled next month, will include a schedule to launch new models and a financial break-even target.

Nick Reilly’s comments in an official GM blog came as the U.S. automaker finalizes its restructuring plan for Opel and British sister brand Vauxhall, a program it has said would result in about 9,000 job cuts across the continent.

“We have developed a sustainable plan for the future, including a break-even target, which we expect to unveil in the middle of December,” Mr. Reilly wrote.

“That plan will involve structural-costs reductions,” he added. “But importantly it will also include new product commitments, continued investment in research and development, and an aggressive schedule for new model launches.”

Mr. Reilly gave no details of those plans.

GM is currently in consultations with European government officials and employee representatives.

Mr. Reilly said this week that up to 60 percent of the job cuts could come from Germany, and that the future of an Opel plant in Antwerp, Belgium, is “uncertain.”

“If Opel-Vauxhall is to flourish, every stakeholder will need to contribute to our viability plan,” he wrote Friday.

“As part of that effort, we hope to secure financial assistance from governments in the member states where we have significant operations.”

He reiterated that “no final decision has been taken” on details of the plan.

Opel and Vauxhall employ about 48,000 people in Europe, more than 24,000 of them in Germany. GM has said it needs $4.9 billion to restructure its European operations.

GM shocked European governments and employees earlier this month by abruptly canceling the planned sale of a majority in Opel to a consortium of Canadian auto parts maker Magna International Inc. and Russian lender Sberbank.

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