Bad news for Belgium

GM sign

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

SCOTT JAGOW: GM said it's gonna build a new version of a popular small car in Europe. It's called the Astra. Our European correspondent Stephen Beard has more on the impact of this decision. Stephen?

STEPHEN BEARD: There will be winners and losers. The Brits, the Germans, the Swedes and the Poles are winners. They will see several thousand jobs secured. The Belgians however are not happy. They've been left out of the plan. They're losing 1,400 GM jobs and they've been told in no uncertain terms that if they don't bring their costs down they could lose all their production to Asia.

JAGOW: So they're being punished?

BEARD: Yes simply because, according to GM, the big factory in Antwerp is not performing sufficiently. All GM operations across Europe have been under tremendous pressure in recent years. There's been a huge amount of restructuring, thousands of jobs have already gone and some of these factories in some of these European countries have emerged leaner and meaner than others.

JAGOW: So this is all part of GM's grand plan we've heard so much about in terms of restructuring and job losses we've talked to death over here.

BEARD: Yes absolutely and Europe's GM plants have lost something like 13,000 jobs in recent years. It's been pretty painful.

JAGOW: Now this car, the Astra . . . Stephen didn't you own one of these?

BEARD: Yes a 15-year-old Astra. It was a great old car and did something like 285,000 miles before it finally expired about two months ago.

JAGOW: Wow that's not bad. Alright Stephen thanks a lot.

BEARD: OK Scott.

JAGOW: Our European correspondent Stephen Beard in London. In Los Angeles, I'm Scott Jagow. Thanks for joining us and have a great day.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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