GM Closes Bochum, Opens Itself To Costly Fight Over Severance Pay
Opel’s Supervisory Board, with half of its members delegates of the labor union, decided today the first closure of a German car factory in decades. According to Reuters, “Opel will end producing Zafira MPVs at its 50-year old Bochum plant by the end of next year, a move that has triggered a rare and public split within union ranks following months of tough negotiations.”
The closure will lead to the loss of 3,000 jobs in Bochum, as part of Opel’s attempt to put an end to 15 straight years of losses in Europe. It will be a while.
Smaller, Cheaper Benzes Ante Portas
Red alert for armchair marketing strategists: Daimler plans what surely will be branded as an inexcusable watering down of its brand equity: The Mercedes brand is working on a series of very small (under 4 meters) and affordably priced (17,000 to 20,000 Euro) cars.
Opel: Capacity Glut? Us? No Way!
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel made appreciative noises o ver the 4 billion EUR GM wants to invest into Opel through 2016, but gave no indication that she is willing to chip in.
Akerson, Girsky Stand By Bleeding German Patient
GM CEO Dan Akerson and his dispatched-to-Europe fixer Steve Girsky emphatically denied that its loss-making Opel arm is up for sale or might be merged into a joint venture with equally loss-making Peugeot.
Daimler In Trouble – And It Will Get Worse
A few months ago, we discussed what Nissan/Renault’s Carlos Ghosn calls a “structural decline” of Europe: Missing car buyers, brought on by a sudden decline of births around 1970. A population peak that now sits smack in the middle of the prime new car buying age, which in most of Europe is between 40 and 60 years, will retire in a few years, throwing Europe’s car industry in turmoil. Daimler, which has some of the oldest buyers, is beginning to feel the pain.
Akerson And Neumann To Visit Merkel
GM CEO Dan Akerson and freshly minted Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann will receive a one hour audience with German Chancellor Angela Merkel this Thursday “to discuss the rejection of a plant closure timetable by workers which could speed the factory’s shutdown,” as Reuters reports.
Volkswagen And Greenpeace End Warfare
For years, Greenpeace and Volkswagen were engaged in a low level conflict over alleged high levels of CO2 emissions. Now, both sides decided to declare victory and to go home. After announcing ambitious CO2 goals before the Geneva Motor show, Volkswagen had a sit-down with Greenpeace, where both decided to bury the hatchet.
Opel's Bochum Workers Reject Deal, Prepare For Costly Battle
GM has a huge problem in Bochum – or an unexpected opportunity. Workers at Opel’s Bochum plant yesterday refused a restructuring plan that would guarantee auto production in Bochum through 2016, and that would keep the plant making components after that. GM answered on the same day: ”Production of the Zafira Tourer and the waiver of enforced redundancy will end after 2014.” This would open the door to closing the doors in Bochum.
It also could become extremely costly for GM.
Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: What The Germans Bought in 2012
The next stop on our ‘what the XXX bought in 2012′ is Germany, after going to China, Europe, Russia, India, Israel, Italia, Indonesia, France and Canada.
Not what you had in mind? That’s ok, you can check the best-selling models and brands in 172 additional countries and territories on my blog. Enjoy!
Back to Germany. And in 2012 a few models broke their all-time annual volume records… Jump in to know more!
Not to be outdone by the bull from Wolfsburg, BMW’s adopted super-luxury brand, Rolls Royce, offers its “most powerful and dynamic Rolls-Royce in history.” The Wraith, a car “with just a hint of the noir,” as Rolls says in an email.
From XL-1 to Veneno, Volkswagen Shows Cars For Everyman
The volks who worry about Volkswagen being incapable of directing its big band of brands should make a trip to Geneva. Today, the boys from Wolfsburg launch a barrage at all target groups.
Aimed at the “blogger who drives mother’s old Celica and googles for super car pics” segment, Lamborghini delivers more bull:
Chinese New Year Affects Audi, Will Hit Volkswagen Even Harder
Audi’s global deliveries were “clearly lower” than in January, Audi’s CEO Rupert Stadler told Reuters reporter Andreas Cremer in Geneva. Audi’s global sales were up 16.3 percent in January. There won’t be a minus said Stadler, even while fighting the lunar calendar, Audi will report a single digit plus.
Audi’s numbers won’t be the only ones that won’t look as good as the month before.
Trying To Sort Through The Opel Mess: It's A Pre-Programmed Crash
I have been trying to make heads or tails out of yesterday’s contradicting news about the big deal between Opel and the unions, and so does German media. So much is clear: The truth and GM’s press release about a “successful conclusion” of the negotiations with the Opel works council are miles apart. There is no deal. Unions and Management are still in negotiations, the negotiations will continue this coming week. Then, the workers have to vote. It does not look good: Bochum’s works council is dead set against the deal. It gets worse.
GM's Euro-Trash: All Agree On Opel Deal, Except For The Union Boss
I shall not be moved: Opel union chief Einenkel
Messy, messy, messy: Can’t even close a proper deal with the unions. GM and the unions have an agreement. It is basically as reported this morning. The deal has the signatures of management and unions. One signature is missing, reports Die Welt: That of Bochum works council chief Rainer Einenkel.
Armistice Confusion At Opel: Unions 2, Girsky Nil – Wait, Game Not Over? Never Mind …
If you think that GM will get a handle on its abundant capacity problems in Europe – abandon all hope. Or rather: Postpone hope for until after 2016, or maybe later. Also, write off any expectations that Steve Girksy would successfully play hardball with German Metalworker Unions. Deadball is more likely. With the decision to move the production of Opel’s Astra volume model from Rüsselsheim to Ellesmere Port, and to shift production from Bochum to Rüsselsheim, the fate of the Bochum plant appeared to be sealed.
German unions declared war. Minutes ago, Opel works council chief Wolfgang Schäfer-Klug announced “an armistice” (Das Handelsblatt) and told German media that Opel will continue making cars in Bochum through 2016. Nobody can be fired, no plants can be closed at Opel until January 1, 2017. Even then, Bochum will remain open.