General Motors is planning a far more radical shake up of its European operations than previously expected, according to a report published today by Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine.
Quoting informed sources at Vauxhall sister company Opel, Der Spiegel says senior General Motors managers in North America have reached a decision to shift production of the Astra from Opel’s main Russelsheim plant in Germany to both its Polish-based Gelwice factory and Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port operations in the UK.
The report has angered Opel worker’s union representatives who suggest production of the Astra costs 220 euro more at Ellesmere Port than in Russelsheim. The loss of the Astra would leave Russelsheim with the production of just one model, the Insignia. Job cuts of up to 200 are mooted for Opel’s development centre in Russelsheim.
More significant is the news that General Motors is close to announcing the closure of Opel’s Bochum plant, which currently produces the Zafira and Astra.
Der Spiegel has also reported that General Motors is studying a plan that would see the next generation Zafira be conceived and developed by PSA (Peugeot Citroen), with which it holds a seven per cent shareholding.