UPDATE 1-GM's Opel to invest $175 mln in German car parts plant
* Opel earmarks 130 mln eur for Kaiserslautern factory
* Funds safeguard 2,200 plant jobs for 5 yrs -labour leader
* About 1,000 jobs lost in recent years, he says
FRANKFURT, Sept 25 (Reuters) - General Motors' loss-making European brand Opel is investing 130 million euros ($175.4 million) in its German engine and parts plant in Kaiserslautern, Opel said in a statement on Wednesday.
The factory, opened in 1966, will use the funds to produce body and chassis parts for the next-generation Astra compact car and Insignia mid-size car, as well to build the Euro 6 generation of 2.0 litre diesel engines starting in October 2014.
About 1,000 jobs have been cut over the past eight years at the plant following repeated restructurings, according to the factory's labour leader, Lothar Sorger. It now employs around 2,200 people.
"This new investment should guarantee that the personnel loss finally stops and - provided the business plan takes hold - secure employment at the plant for the next five years," Sorger told Reuters.
"For the first time in years I think it's possible that we might even need to add to our staffing level," Sorger said, adding that some assembly work for seating components would now return to the plant after having previously been outsourced.
GM's adjusted operating loss in Europe widened to $1.8 billion last year from $700 million in 2011 and it expects to achieve profitability only in the middle of this decade.
Opel's U.S. parent has, however, pledged to invest 4 billion euros in the brand by the end of 2016 to support new model launches.
Opel has four plants in Germany - in Kaiserslautern, Ruesselsheim, Eisenach and Bochum. Earlier this year the company approved the closure of the Bochum factory, which will be the first German car plant to close in decades when production is shut down by the end of next year.
- Target says data from 40 million cards stolen in holiday period
- UPDATE 3-Saab wins Brazil jet deal after NSA spying sours Boeing bid
- Special Report: Why Ukraine spurned the EU and embraced Russia
- Facebook, Zuckerberg, banks must face IPO lawsuit: judge
- Zuckerberg to sell Facebook shares worth about $2.3 billion