Decision Close: Opel Will Close Bochum, Keep Ellesmere Port Open

decision close opel will close bochum keep ellesmere port open

Tomorrow, Thursday morning, GM will most likely announce that the new Opel Astra will be built at the Ellesmere Port plant near Liverpool, and no longer in Germany. This ends weeks of hard-nosed gamesmanship, where one plant was played against the other.

According to a report in the London Telegraph, workers at the Vauxhall plant voted on Wednesday on concessions. The results of the ballot are not announced yet, but British media treats it as a done deal.

Reuters says that Opel presented a catalogue of demands “including wage cuts, more temporary workers and outsourcing.”

The Daily Mail already seems to know that “Ellesmere Port and Gliwice in Poland will now become the only two manufacturing centres of the next generation Vauxhall Astra which hits showrooms from 2015.” The paper also is certain that “Opel’s Bochum plant in Germany, which builds the Zafira, is set for closure.”

A Daily Mail source opined that “The German unions will go bonkers.”

The source is probably right. The German Metal Worker union demands pay hikes from all automakers. There already were widespread warning strikes at Audi, BMW, Daimler and parts suppliers. GM and Opel are contractually precluded from closing any Opel plants in Europe through 2014. Jobs are likewise secure. Once plant closures are announced, it will be very tough working with the doomed workforce.

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 4 comments
  • GS650G GS650G on May 16, 2012

    GM used China as a lever in these negotiations. The mere thought and threat of Sino assembly of cars was enough to get concessions. GM will do the same thing in NA as soon as it is politically possible. Probably next year.

  • Shearwater26 Shearwater26 on May 18, 2012

    That's my Kadette! Or maybe not, I think my '64 was built in Belgium. And actually my '64 was a parts car to my '65. The '65 had more modern square headlight bezels like the '66 that Buick imported, but the rest of the car from the grill on back was like the '64. Tiny little 1 liter motor, very long 4 speed shifter. Rusted to nothing inside of about 6 years. And it seems like everyone of them was the same beige color, not quite tan.

  • Bryan Raab Davis I actually did use the P of D trope, but it was only gentle chiding, for I love old British cars of every sort.
  • ScarecrowRepair The 1907 Panic had several causes of increased demand for money:[list][*]The semi-annual shift of money between farms and cities (to buy for planting and selling harvests)[/*][*]Britain and Germany borrowing for their naval arms race[/*][*]San Francisco reconstruction borrowing after the 1906 earthquake and fire[/*][/list]Two things made it worse:[list][*]Idiotic bans on branch banking, which prevented urban, rural, and other state branches from shifting funds to match demands. This same problem made the Great Depression far worse. Canada, which allowed branch banking, had no bank failures; the US had 9000 failures.[/*][*]Idiotic reserve requirements left over from the Civil War which prevented banks from loaning money; they eventually started honoring IOUs illegally and started the recovery.[/*][/list]Been a while since I read up on it, so I may have some of the details wrong. But it was an amazing clusterfart which could have been avoided or at least tamed sooner if states and the feds hadn't been so ham handed.
  • FreedMike Maybe this explains all the “Idiots wrecking exotic cars” YouTube videos.
  • FreedMike Good article! And I salute the author for not using the classic “Lucas - prince of darkness” trope, well earned as it may be. We all know the rap on BL cars, but on the flip side, they’re apparently pretty easy to work on (at least that’s the impression I’ve picked up). On the other hand, check the panel fits on the driver’s and passenger’s doors. Clearly, BL wasn’t much concerned with things like structural integrity when it chopped the roof off a car designed as a coupe.
  • Mongo312 Had an 89SE, 92SE and an 03SE all with stick. The 03 took almost 3 months to find because there were so few produced with a manual transmission and dealers didn't want to give them up. Ended up buying one from a dealership in San Antonio and having it shipped here to St Louis.
Next