By on May 13, 2013

Now that Opel workers in Bochum refused a plan to keep the factory open, now that an intervention by UAW’s Bob King went exactly nowhere, the question is where to move production of the Opel Zafira when Bochum closes its doors by end of 2014.

In the running: Rüsselsheim, Germany, and Ellesmere Port, UK.

Both locations are top options on the lists of GM and Opel managers, Automobilwoche [sub] says.  Opel’s board of management will make a decision by June, which the supervisory board will have to approve.  A member of the supervisory board told Automobilwoche that  “business aspects” speak for Ellesmere Port, however, he hopes  that the Zafira will remain in Germany.  The union has half the seats of Opel’s supervisory board, and we know what the unions hope.

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8 Comments on “Who Will Get Opel’s Zafira When Bochum Closes?...”

  • avatar

    Does Bob King get another vote on this?

  • avatar
    Cammy Corrigan

    Ellesmere! Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Ellesmere! Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!

    Guess who I’m hoping wins….?

    P.S. If I’ve interpreted the quote correctly, then, what they are saying is “Sending the Zafira to Ellesmere Port makes good business sense, however, we want it to stay in Germany.” Therefore, if Vauxhall/Opel decide AGAINST Ellesmere Port, then they’ve made a frank admission that they are NOT running Vauxhall/Opel as a business, but more like a European lobbying group. Which can’t do them any favours in Detroit…

  • avatar

    Just how expensive are workers in Germany compared to workers in England?
    And how high are Corporate taxes in Germany compared to England?
    Have to be pretty darn high to offset the cost of setting up a completely new supply chain and getting the materials to England and shipping the cars across the Channel. I mean,I have to believe it’s a lot easier redirecting the supply network to another location in Germany than shipping to England.

    Sounds more like “business reasons” is code for “What kind of deal are you going to give us to stay in Germany? Because if you don’t give us what we want ,we’re taking our ball and going to England!”

    • 0 avatar
      Cammy Corrigan

      It’s not THAT big a stretch.

      The current Vauxhall/Opel Zafira is built off the Delta platform (I think it’s the Mark II?). So, when it comes to its new iteration, it will be on another Delta platform. The Astra is also built off the Delta platform. So re-tooling Ellesmere Port won’t really be that much of a problem as a good chunk of engineering can already be done off of the Astra framework.

      And given how stable industrial relations are in the UK, Ellesmere Port should be the runaway favourite to get the Zafira contract. The only way they’ll lose it is someone playing politics. Or having a friend on the board of directors…

      • 0 avatar

        Also corporation tax is lower in the UK and Vauxhall’s market share (and hence Zafira sales) is greater than Opel’s market share in Germany.

  • avatar

    Regardless of where the Zafira ends up, love to have one over across the pond. With a slick 6spd manual and lovely, torquey diesel, it would have me in the dealership with a quickness to trade in my Mazda 5 Grand Tourer.

  • avatar

    Oh man, oh man, who’s it gonna be? On the one hand, Ellesmere Port is GM Europe’s most efficient plant, on the other hand it’s going to be Rüsselsheim. Yep, Rüsselsheim. Not much suspense there.

    GM needs to throw a bone to the German labor unions and politicians for being so “generous” as to let GM close it’s own plant that it doesn’t need anymore, and keeping some production within the country may be the way to do that. I don’t think the German government, the EU, or IG Metall would ever tolerate moving a model to the UK from Germany.

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