After a lot of talk, GM is beginning to create facts at Opel: The production of Opel’s volume model, the Astra, will be moved from Rüsselsheim to Opel/Vauxhall sites in Ellesmere Port and Gliwice, Poland. This according to reports in Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which receives usually reliable information from Opel’s unions.
The union informants of the FAZ say that the decision will be announced in a few weeks. Their information is from Steve Girsky. Girsky heads Opel’s Supervisory Board where the unions have half of the seats.\
With more than 300,000 units made per year, the Astra is (next to the Corsa) Opel’s most important model. A decision to move its production elsewhere is devastating, a union member told the Frankfurt paper. “It is as if the Volkswagen Golf would no longer be built in Wolfsburg,” the informant said. One third of Rüsselsheim’s production capacity is currently used to make the Astra, says the FAZ
The move is planned for 2015, when the new generation of the Astra will be launched. In the same year, the agreement expires that until then prohibits firings or plant closures.
An Opel spokesman had no comment and referred to ongoing discussions. According to Der Spiegel, Opel CEO Stracke implicitly confirmed the story by praising Rüsselsheim’s importance for the production of the Opel Insignia.
Vis-a-vis the Wall Street Journal, GM later confirmed that it presented the strategy for the upcoming compact-car generation to its labor unions. Stracke said in a statement:
“After finalizing an information and consultation process with European labor representatives the company will decide at which plants the next Astra generation will be produced from 2015 on.”
Hat tip to the mountain man.