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Business

GM Europe to move its headquarters to Germany

By concentrating its European presence in Germany, GM could hope to appease politicians and auto workers angry with the automaker's abandonment of a plan to sell its German branch Opel.

Opel sign in Ruesselsheim

Opel is a main employer in Ruesselsheim, the future home of GM Europe.

The small German town of Ruesselsheim has not been happy with General Motors. Since GM's announcement that it would restructure German subsidiary Opel itself, rather than sell it off, Ruesselsheim has been home to angry protesters calling GM's behavior "totally unacceptable" and "the ugly face of turbo-capitalism."

In a move that may appease some of that anger, a GM spokesman announced Saturday it will move its European headquarters from the Swiss capital Zurich to Ruesselsheim, Opel's current home.

All but the headquarters of the Chevrolet brand will be included in the transfer, which should be completed before the end of the year, the spokesman said.

Reneging on a deal

Thousands of Opel workers walk out on the job to protest GM's decision to keep the company

Thousands of Opel workers protested GM's decision to keep the company

GM had been through months of negotiations with the Canadian firm Magna on selling off Opel, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had invested significant political capital in backing the sale.

The decision to keep the company shocked politicans and auto employees all over Germany and Europe.

The German government has already earmarked 1.5 billion euros ($2.2 billion) in loans to aid the struggling company, but everyone from politicians, employers' associations and German citizens have expressed opposition to further aid.

Much of the anger toward GM stems from what are widely seen as inevitable layoffs during restructuring. Opel employees about 25,000 people in Germany and twice as many in Europe as a whole.


acb/AFP/AP
Editor: Andreas Illmer

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