FRANKFURT -- Opel confirmed it will close its Bochum plant in Germany in 2016 when the current version of the Zafira minivan is replaced, as the automaker does not expect Europe's auto market to recover soon.
The General Motors Co. unit will look to develop the site's component and distribution operations in an effort to reduce job losses, Opel said. The plan is part of Opel's goal to become profitable by the middle of the decade.
In June, Opel said it would not build the Zafira successor at Bochum. "Despite rigorous efforts, there was no success in changing the situation. The main reasons are the dramatic declines in the European car market and the enormous overcapacity in the entire European auto industry," Opel said in a statement on Monday.
Steve Girsky, GM vice chairman and acting president of GM Europe, said in the statement that the company will negotiate with the factory's works council to try and avoid forced lay offs before the run-out of the current Zafira.
Opel said it will preserve some jobs in its Bochum warehouse and that it is talking to employee representatives about allocating new component production to the region.
The Bochum factory, which is in Germany's Ruhr valley manufacturing area, employs 3,300 workers.
GM expects its European operations, which include the Opel and Vauxhall brands, to lose between $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion this year.