German carmaker Opel needs to cut capacity and workforce quickly to return to profitability, but any decision on restructuring the company would not be driven by political considerations, Opel Chairman Carl-Peter Forster said on Tuesday.
Forster said at the Frankfurt Motor Show that turning around the unprofitable automaker in the next few years would not be an easy road and the overall economy would need to pick up to ensure a successful turnaround.
A consortium led by Canada's Magna International (MGa.TO) plans to cut about 10,500 jobs from Opel's workforce of 50,000 after striking a deal to buy a 55 percent stake in Opel from General Motors Co GM.UL last week.
Magna has said that all four German plants will stay open under the agreement, while a plant in Antwerp, Belgium, could close.
Britain and Belgium urged the European Commission to ensure the takeover of Opel did not favor German workers because of 4.5 billion euros ($6.6 billion) in promised aid from Germany. The European Commission plans to question Germany over its preference for Magna's bid for Opel over a rival offer by Belgium-based RHJ International (RHJI.BR).
The European Commission will find that any final decision on restructuring Opel would be based on facts, not on politics, Forster said.
At the Frankfurt show, Opel introduced the new Astra compact hatchback -- among the most closely watched vehicles of the show and its best-selling model whose success would be crucial for its turnaround.
The new Astra, which competes with Volkswagen's (VOWG.DE) Golf hatchback, has 12 percent better fuel economy over the previous generation, Forster said.
The automaker also showcased the Ampera electric vehicle - which shares the platform and technology used to develop GM's heavily touted Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid car.
The Ampera, like the Chevrolet Volt, will be powered by a lithium-ion battery pack and will drive 60 kilometers (40 miles) on a single battery charge, Forster said.
(Reporting by Soyoung Kim, editing by Dave Zimmerman)