FRANKFURT (Reuters) -- Opel/Vauxhall, the European unit of U.S. automaker General Motors, said it would halt production for a total of 20 days at its main factory in Ruesselsheim and its engine plant in Kaiserslautern between September and the end of the year, confirming an earlier German media report.
The struggling carmaker said it will cut the hours of workers at the two plants in response to a drop in demand for cars in Europe.
"The European car market is declining substantially. Until recently, the decreased production schedules could be compensated by applying corridor shifts and accrued overtime," said Holger Kimmes, head of personnel at Opel/Vauxhall, in a statement. "Now, short work is the right bridging measure."
Yet shortening staff hours may only grant a short-term reprieve to Opel, but will do nothing to alleviate the carmaker's structural problems of unused factory space, said Frankfurt-based Commerzbank analyst Sascha Gommel.
"Closing down plants for a few days isn't going to help Opel with its most pressing problem of overcapacity," Gommel said.
In manufacturing, hours will be reduced by short-work shifts or short-work days starting in September, while cuts in the administrative and service functions will begin in October, the automaker said, adding that engineering jobs would not be affected.