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GM moves European HQ to Germany

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GM moves European HQ to Germany
Photo: DPA
14:37 CET+01:00
In an apparent gesture of goodwill to placate jilted Germany, Opel parent General Motors is to move its European headquarters from Switzerland to the German city of Rüsselsheim, the firm announced Saturday.

The move was part of General Motors' (GM) plan to focus its European operations on Opel, a subsidiary that employs 25,000 workers in Germany and is based in Rüsselsheim in the south-west state of Hesse.

“We want to strengthen the Opel brand and position,” a company spokesman said Saturday.

The US-based parent company recently angered German political leaders and union officials by backing out of a pledge to sell Opel, which means about one in five of its German workers is likely to be laid off.

The move by GM may help smooth things over with the German government and Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom the firm is still courting in the hope Germany will contribute to €3 billion in loans it is seeking from European governments to turn the struggling Opel around.

The relocation of about 150 GM workers from the present headquarters in Zurich had already begun and was expected to be completed by the end of the year, the spokesman said.

The GM brand Chevrolet was to remain in Switzerland.

Opel's worker's committee welcomed the decision. Chairman Klaus Franz renewed the committee's call for GM to make Opel a joint-stock company in which employees have a bigger say, though GM chief Fritz Henderson has already ruled out such a move.

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