German state premier: I am sure that the Opel site Ruesselsheim can be preserved image

GM is preparing to make “unpopular decisions” to improve the efficiency of the region’s underutilized factories, Karl Stracke, GM’s Europe chief, said in an interview ahead of a companywide meeting with employees on Monday.

But the state premiers of Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Thuringia said in a joint statement GM would face a united front against plant closures in Germany and that GM should let Opel export globally.

“I am sure that the Opel site Ruesselsheim can be preserved,” Volker Bouffier – the premier of Germany’s state of Hesse said.

GM has said Opel and its British sister brand Vauxhall, which posted a first-quarter loss of $256 million, need to be overhauled, stoking workers’ fears of plant closures.

The automaker’s alliance with France’s PSA Peugeot Citroen in particular has triggered concern about the potential loss of jobs.

General Motors Co.’s (GM) top European executive Monday said the auto maker will concentrate output of its top-selling Astra compact car in two rather than three factories as he outlined the key points of a turnaround plan for the Opel/Vauxhall brand due to be presented in June.

Last week, German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said Opel will stop making the Opel Astra model at its plant in the German town of Ruesselsheim.

Staff representatives at Opel said on Monday ending production of the Astra compact at Ruesselsheim, Germany, would be a “devastating mistake”

GM Europe lost $700 million in 2011 and company officials have expressed their determination to turn around the Opel and Vauxhall brands.