Beleaguered car maker Opel has confirmed it intends to close its assembly plant in the Belgian port city of Antwerp.
It is a devastating blow but not a surprise for the site’s 2,300 workers. Parent company General Motors had warned for weeks that the plant was in jeopardy but until now no final decision had been announced.
GM went bankrupt alongside rival Chrysler and was bailed out by the US government in return for a pledge to restructure.
Opel chief Nick Reilly insisted the decision to close the Antwerp plant this year was not taken lightly but was the “unfortunate result of the current business reality.”
The company says the car market in Western Europe is expected to drop still further this year and it needs to reduce its capacity by around 20 per cent.