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GM to close Opel plant in Germany

Terrible European auto sales trigger layoffs and plant closures.

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Dan Akerson, CEO of General Motors speaks next to an Opel car 'Adam' during a press conference at Opel headquarters on April 10, 2013 in Ruesselsheim, Germany. (Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)

The supervisory board at General Motors has voted to close a German factory producing its Opel brand cars, the first time an auto plant in the country has been shut down in decades.

3,000 workers will lose their jobs, according to Reuters.

GM is not the only one having trouble on the continent. The closure, slated for the end of 2014, is an indicator of just how weak the European car market has been in recent years — and will likely remain.

PSA Peugeot Citroën, Europe's second-largest automaker, has announced it will cut nearly 10,000 jobs (by not replacing workers who leave), and close a major factory outside Paris. Last year, it even sold its Paris headquarters to reduce its debt.

Ford announced in March it would pay at least $750 million to employees at its factory in Genk, Belgium, which it is closing at the end of next year, according to France 24.

While GM hopes to return to profitability in Europe by 2015, after more than a decade of losses, Reuters reports, it is turning its attention, and hopes for growth, to China.

GM's Buick brand does a lot better in the country, now the world's largest auto market, than in the United States, and Cadillac wants to triple its sales there by 2015.

Opel has been building cars at the Bochum plant, in northwest Germany, since 1962, and invested €175 million in the plant in 2011.

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