German car group Karmann rolls out last convertible

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Karmann, which was founded in 1901, has built millions of convertibles for automakers since 1949.

Frankfurt -- Specialist German auto group Karmann turned out Monday its last convertible car, a Mercedes Benz CLK, as it looks to survive insolvency through a major restructuring.

"Today, the last car built entirely by Karmann rolled off the assembly line," a company statement said.

Karmann, which was founded in 1901, has built more than 3.3 million convertibles for auto makers since 1949, including VW Karmann Ghias and Beetles, Ford Escorts, Mercedes CLKs and Audi Cabrios.

But the recent collapse of global auto markets sealed the company's fate and it decided to focus its activities on auto parts production in a bid to stay in business.

Karmann still employs around 2,000 workers.

"We could no longer avoid shutting down the vehicle assembly line because auto manufacturers' strategies have changed," the company's administrator Ottmar Hermann was quoted as saying.

Karmann was recently beaten to a major contract by the Canadian group Magna, which also manufactures cars for major brands in addition to producing auto parts.

Magna is currently in talks with the US auto giant General Motors to buy GM's European activities, notably German car maker Opel.


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