Consumers fear GM Europe cuts will hit Opel quality

Ruesselsheim, Germany. Potential buyers are worried by the radical cost cuts planned by General Motors Europe for its Opel subsidiary.

Opel dealers questioned by Automobilwoche said nearly all customers entering their showrooms are worried about the planned cuts. Many dealers reported that customers had asked with all seriousness about how long the Opel brand would exist.

However, GM Europe's plans appear to have had no affect on Opel's sales in Germany so far.

Thomas Bieling, spokesman for Opel's German dealers, said: "In the past few days our orders have actually increased slightly."

Dealers are worried about a possible long-term decline in Opel's image, which might lead to a slump in sales.

"We may suffer the consequences of more than 10 years of bad management," complained a dealer from Swabi

"It's ironic because we finally have great range of high quality products," said a dealer from Aachen. He added that it would be extremely annoying if this achievement was now overshadowed by negative headlines.

Bieling said Opel's image had been damaged in the past few years by failed attempts at turning the company around.

Dealers are explaining to customers that reducing Opel's large overcapacity will have no effect on the quality of its cars.

Many Opel dealers in Germany also have drastically increased sales incentives.

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