GM Vauxhall plants in Britain to close for a week

Associated Press + More

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — GM's Vauxhall brand will close two plants in Britain for a week starting Sept. 24 because of weak auto markets in crisis-hit Europe.

The closures at Ellesmere Port and Luton will idle some 3,000 workers.

Vauxhall communications director Denis Chick said Tuesday the workers would still be paid and their hours would be banked, to be worked off later.

The plants make Vauxhall right-hand drive cars for the U.K. market but most of the output is exported to Europe under the Opel badge.

GM and other mass-market carmarkers have been facing weak sales and tough competition as Europe struggles with a crisis over too much government debt. Recessions and high unemployment have hit demand for new cars in southern European countries such as Spain, Italy Portugal and Greece.

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