Canadian Manufacturing

German vice chancellor criticizes GM over Opel factory move, but says no government aid

Philipp Roesler, who's also economy minister, claims homemade problems were chief culprit


BERLIN—Germany’s vice-chancellor has sharply criticized General Motors over its decision to end car production at a German plant, arguing that the U.S. automaker was wrong to keep its European unit out of lucrative overseas markets.

GM’s Opel subsidiary said it will stop making cars at Bochum, one of four German factories, in 2016—though the plant may continue to make components. It cited overcapacity and shrinking European demand.

Vice-chancellor Philipp Roesler, who’s also economy minister, said homemade problems were the chief culprit.

One day after the decision was announced, he said GM must ask itself whether it’s given Opel a real chance—”because in the important markets, China, Brazil, India, Opel can sell almost no cars.”

But Roesler says Germany’s federal government can’t provide financial aid to help the workers.