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German vice chancellor criticizes GM over Opel factory move, but says no government aid

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A signal light turns red in front of the Opel car plant in Bochum, western Germany, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012. General Motors Co.'s Opel unit said Monday that it plans to end car production at one plant in Germany in 2016, but a slimmed-down factory may continue to make components. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)


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BERLIN - Germany's vice chancellor has sharply criticized General Motors Co. over its decision to end car production at a German plant, arguing that the U.S. automaker was wrong to keep its European unit out of lucrative overseas markets.

GM's Opel subsidiary said Monday it will stop making cars at Bochum, one of four German factories, in 2016 — though the plant may continue to make components. It cited overcapacity and shrinking European demand.

Vice Chancellor Philipp Roesler, who's also economy minister, said homemade problems were the chief culprit. He said Tuesday GM must ask itself whether it's given Opel a real chance — "because in the important markets, China, Brazil, India, Opel can sell almost no cars."

But Roesler says Germany's federal government can't provide financial aid to help the workers.