FRANKFURT -- Top managers of General Motors' Adam Opel division are taking their efficiency drive to the staff parking lot, urging employees who own rival brands' cars to switch to a new Opel.
"Take your Christmas pay and buy an Opel," is the message senior executives and works council leaders are giving staff who arrive in a competitor's car, an Opel spokesman said on Tuesday, referring to the special year-end pay-out that workers receive.
"It is not the case that they look askance at colleagues who don't drive an Opel," he said, but they do point out the sweetened terms that staff get when they lease or buy a car from the business.
Opel is the biggest part of GM's loss-making European operations, where talks are under way on plans by the world biggest carmaker to chop fixed costs by 500 million euros ($652 million) a year. GM Europe last made a profit in 1999.
GM said last month it may have to cut up to 12,000 jobs in Europe -- the bulk of them in high-cost Germany -- over the next two years to stem chronic losses in the region.
The Opel spokesman declined to comment on a report in German paper Handelsblatt that GM was considering outsourcing around 6,000 jobs as part of the efficiency campaign.
Outsourcing has been floated before as a way to streamline operations, especially at GM plants like the one in the German city of Kaiserslautern that makes parts rather than whole cars.
The idea, analysts say, is to bundle the operations with those of independent suppliers who sell to a variety of manufacturers, thus reaping economies of scale.
Sources familiar with the talks have played down prospects for a quick deal, suggesting negotiations may stretch into next year if no agreement takes shape before the year-end holidays.