Opel expected to end Astra contract with Bertone

Turin, Italy. After nearly 20 years Adam Opel AG may end its cooperation with the Italian coachbuilder Bertone.

Insiders said the contract for both development and manufacture of a coupe convertible on the Astra platform will be given to another company. The 2,000 employees at Carozzeria Bertone in Turin are in shock. Since production stopped last year on the BMW C1 motorcycle, production of the Astra coupe and convertible have been the company's main source of income.

Quality and cost issues are the reasons Opel is giving the contract for the successor to another company.

The successor, which has a folding hard top, will be designed at Magna in Austria and may be built at Opel's Bochum, Germany, plant starting in 2005.

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