Opel asks Merkel for help

Opel asks Merkel for help
Photo: DPA
Automaker Opel has requested that German Chancellor Angela Merkel advocate a €40 billion loan programme for the European auto industry, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on Monday.

The Opel executive board and industrial council have asked Merkel to back the programme from the European Investment Bank for Europe’s struggling auto industry.

An Opel spokesperson confirmed the letter request to Merkel and the Economy Ministry, but did not provide details, the paper reported. The government press office said that the letter would now be reviewed and an answer “thoroughly considered.” A spokesperson also indicated that the stimulus package planned by the German central government already contained measures for the auto industry.

A scrapping premium for old cars, as well as reduced interest rates on loans for new car sales are reportedly expected.

The letter has been signed by the European president of General Motors and Opel supervisory board chairman Carl-Peter Forster, Opel executive Hans Demant and the employee organization head Klaus Franz. The three signatories first convened on Monday to negotiate further economizations for the troubled German affiliate of the General Motors corporation, the paper reported.

The automaker, based in Rüsselheim in the German state of Hesse, has already stopped production for two weeks due to a decrease in sales. Further production breaks and a comprehensive severance pay programme for employees are also expected.

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