The German car giant Volkswagen is getting rid of all 16,500 of its temporary workforce by the end of the year, according to the company’s chief executive. Martin Winterkorn told Der Spiegel that the world economic downturn has left them with no choice. 4,500 temps work in Germany, with many more in Eastern Europe and Brazil. Winterkorn said permanent employees were safe for the moment.Chief analyst for Deutsche Bank Norbert Walter said: “I believe a few brands will go. I believe that particularly those in the mass car markets have no alternative but to consolidate and of course the times when the Americans and the Europeans dominated this market are challenged.” Another newspaper says the German government is prepared to free-up five-billion euros for another of the country’s giant car-makers, Opel, but not under the terms of a restructuring plan proposed by the company’s struggling American owners General Motors. The Leipziger Volkszeitung quoted an anonymous member of the government describing the plan as a “joke” that GM hoped would bring access to public money.