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Opel to shut down 50-year old Bochum plant by 2014-end

As car sales in Europe continue to decline, one of Germany’s largest auto-makers Opel has finalised the long-planned shut down of its production facility in Bochum at the end of next year.

The supervisory board of US General Motors' (GM) loss- making European subsidiary, which met at its headquarters in Russelsheim near Frankfurt on Wednesday, finally decided to end production at its 50-year old plant in the western German city, two years earlier than originally planned, on the recommendation of its management board. Production of Opel's family car 'Zafira', which was planned to continue in Bochum until the end of 2016, will be shifted to one of its three remaining plants in Germany or elsewhere in Europe, the company said in a statement after the meeting. A proposal to produce auto components in the Bochum plant after it ends the production of cars also has been rejected by the board. It will be the first shut down of a car production plant in Germany for several decades.

Trade unions and Opel's workers' council criticised the decision and expressed concern that the closure of the Bochum plant will lead to around 3,500 redundancies in the coming years.

The supervisory board decision to wind up the car production in Bochum, which began its operation in 1962, came nearly a month after the plant's 3,200-strong workforce voted overwhelmingly to reject a management board restructuring plan for the entire company.
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