Opel to cut production again by 10 pct in 2013 image

German carmaker Opel, the European arm of General Motors is planning to cut production in Europe by more than 10 percent in the year that just begun, blaming weak demand for new vehicles in the old continent, German newspaper Spiegel reported on Sunday.

Following the announcement, Opel is planning to produce only 845,000 new vehicles in Europe in 2013. When asked by Reuters to comment the decision, a spokesman for the German company declined to comment, saying that “We want to keep our market share in Europe in 2013 stable.”

Opel’s market share in EU was about 6 percent in October, down from 6.6 percent a year earlier. (ACEA).

Of course, keeping the market share stable, would mean building fewer vehicles, given the situation in Europe, where, according to the Association of European carmakers (ACEA), car sales shrunk by 7.2 percent in January to November 2012.

Opel, which lost almost $1.8 billion in 2012 (estimation) and more than $16.5 billion since 1999 has announced that they will close as many factories as it can to save the company, mostly because, like many other auto companies in Europe, they are struggling with overcapacity. At this moment the company employs 38,000 people in Europe, of which over 50 percent in Germany. On the same time, its dealer network only in Germany employs another 30,000.

Officially, the company will close its 50-year old Bochum plant in 2016, a move that will kill about 3,000 jobs. That would be the second big hit for Bochum, after Nokia shut down its facility in the town four year ago, killing 4,000 jobs.

Important facts:
Total loses in 2011: $747 million
Total losses in 2010: $1.8 billion
Since 1999: $16.5 billion to $17.0 billion (estimation)
Opel market share 2012 ( 10 months ): 6 percent