Opel to invest 14bln euros until 2014 image

Even if Opel is preparing to announce big losses for the fourth quarter of 2011, the German automaker plans to invest 14bln euros until 2014 in an unprecedented model offensive.

“Among the numerous new models are the just announced Mokka SUV and the future small car that will be taken to market in about one year. Both new vehicles will extend the Opel model range.” an Opel representative told inautonews.

However, the announcement comes shortly after the Wall Street Journal said GM executives are ready to take drastic measures to turn around the struggling Opel/Vauxhall brand – including job cuts. The newspaper cited an unnamed GM source as saying that “if Opel is going to get fixed, it is going to get fixed now and cuts are going to get deep.

The problem is that Opel carried on with far too much capacity and when the Euro crisis hit, cutting car sales across the continent, Opel had nowhere to hide. Even Ford, which has been far more professional in cutting supply to meet demand, lost $27 million in Europe last year; Opel’s figures are likely to be a lot worse when they are released.

The newspaper published: ‘As part of the discussions, GM is considering closing assembly plants in Bochum, Germany, where it employs about 3,100 workers and Ellesmere Port, England, where it has about 2,100 workers, these people said.’

GM had initially planned to sell off Opel in 2009 but instead announced a plan to wipe out 8,300 jobs across Europe, including closing its Antwerp, Belgium factory.

It remains to be seen whether the company will close the assembly plants in Bochum, Germany and UK.