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Auto Industry

Bochum's Opel plant gets no money from policy makers

Federal and regional German politicians have made it abundantly clear that they're unwilling to grant financial aid to a doomed Opel plant in Bochum. The facility will stop car production by 2016.

German Economics Minister Philipp Rösler on Tuesday once again expressed his disappointment at a decision by carmaker Opel to let car production peter out at its Bochum plant in western Germany by 2016.

He told the "Rheinische Post" newspaper that parent company General Motors (GM) had committed huge management blunders in dealing with the Bochum plant in the past. Rösler said GM would have to ask itself whether it had really taken all required steps to try and rescue car production at the Bochum facility, a plant with a 50-year history.

"It surely was a mistake to allow Opel to sell only a very limited number of cars in the important Chinese market," Rösler commented.

Moral, but no financial support

Some 3,300 jobs are at stake in Bochum. But while the federal government said it was angry about GM's move to stop car production there, it made it clear that the plant could not expect any financial assistance from Berlin. Rösler stressed any state help would in the long run not be able to resolve entrepreneurial problems.

The minister added, though, that policy makers could certainly help creating a business climate conducive to attracting investment in the region.

Like Rösler, the regional government of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) where Bochum is located also refused to provide any direct financial resources to rescue the plant in question. NRW Economics Minister Garrelt Duin told public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk on Tuesday it was Opel's and GM's responsibility to cushion the blow.

"None of the workers must become unemployed after 2016," Duin said, adding that the carmaker would have to find alternative employment opportunities.

hg/dr (dpa, dapd)