FRANKFURT -- Order inflow to General Motors' German unit Adam Opel AG has held up despite a production stoppage over planned job cuts that hurt the carmaker's image, Opel CEO Hans Demant said in a magazine interview.
"New orders in the past few days do not point to this," Demant told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport when asked if he feared sales would collapse given publicity surrounding a nearly weeklong stoppage by outraged workers at a plant in Bochum.
"However, I find our overall order inflow is too low. But it is abundantly clear that the public discussion of the Opel brand at the moment does not improve its image," he said in the publication's Oct. 27 issue.
GM plans to cut up to 12,000 jobs in Europe -- mostly in high-cost Germany -- to address chronic losses in the region where it has not made a profit since 1999. Its goal is to save 500 million euros ($639.8 million) a year in structural costs.
Demant said Opel products were well received, but the problem was the overall weak German market that showed no sign of any sharp rebound.
"In addition, we saw prices fall by 6 to 7 percent in the first eight months (of 2004). You have no chance there to react similarly on the cost side in the short term. The entire industry has a problem here."
But he insisted that carmakers -- and not just luxury automakers -- could make money by manufacturing in Germany.
"I think you can build every kind of car in Germany and do so competitively," he said.