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Fiat denies Opel merger to spark huge job cuts

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Fiat denies Opel merger to spark huge job cuts
Photo. DPA
09:25 CEST+02:00
Italian automaker Fiat has denied a report that it plans to slash 18,000 jobs by closing or scaling down 10 factories in Europe in a possible takeover of Germany's Opel.

"The Fiat Group clearly states that it is not information generated by Fiat and does not form part of any plan prepared by Fiat," the company said in a statement.

Citing a sensitive internal document, the Germany daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Wednesday said Fiat would want to cut 18,000 jobs, closing or scaling down 10 factories in Europe if it reaches a deal with GM.

Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne said only on Tuesday that he would not close any factories in Germany, where GM Europe employs about half of its 56,000 European workers at Opel.

But he warned the carmaker still faced job cuts. "Opel can never make money in its current size, and if you don't make money you won't survive," he told Bild. "The workforce of course has to be reduced. No one can change that."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said the document dated April 3 was titled "Project Football." It said the jobs would be cut from the 108,000 total at Opel, GM Europe and Fiat, or 16.6 percent of the total, if a deal is reached.

British Vauxhall assembly lines in Luton and Ellesmere Port, as well as the Opel factory in Antwerp, Belgium, would be among those shut down, along with Fiat factories in Pomigliano, near Naples, and in Termini Imerese, Sicily.

Three Opel plants producing gearboxes - Bochum, Kaiserslautern and Rüsselsheim, Germany - would also be partially shut down, the paper said.

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