Opel has said that the construction of a seven-storey powertain testing and engineering building at Russelsheim is proceeding according to plan.

A 'topping out' ceremony has taken place at the Russelsheim site where GM is investing some EUR210m for the new powertain development centre which is planned to be operational in 2017.

Opel Group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann and Head of Works Council Dr. Wolfgang Schäfer-Klug were joined at the topping out ceremony by GM's highest powertrain developer Dan Nicholson, Vice President Global Powertrain. Rüsselsheims lord mayor Patrick Burghardt was also among the guests when Sascha Göbel, the representative of the responsible construction company read out the traditional topping-out address.

Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann emphasised the importance of the powertain centre investment for the future of the brand. "We take our responsibility for the climate and environment seriously and are on track to meeting the CO2 target set for 2020. The new powertrain centre will make our work even more efficient. It will not only strengthen Rüsselsheim but also the entire GM development network and it ensures that Opel will remain at the forefront of clean propulsion."

"The powertrain centre is an extremely important strategic company investment. GM decided on building this centre in Rüsselsheim for a very good reason - this is where responsibility for small and medium-sized gasoline engines lies. It recognizes the performance and the know-how of our highly qualified Opel engineers," added Dan Nicholson.

Head of Work Council Dr. Wolfgang Schäfer-Klug added: "The negotiations on the Opel collective agreement were the basis for the decision to invest in the new powertrain centre here in Rüsselsheim. It secures and extends employment in the development centre. I am therefore particularly happy to be at the topping-out ceremony of the building today."

"The new powertrain centre will further strengthen the outstanding importance of the International Technical Development centre for the Rüsselsheim site and Opel's considerable research and development competence. But also beyond this, Rüsselsheim is synonymous for innovative technologies and forward-looking concepts," said Patrick Burghardt, lord mayor of Rüsselsheim.

Apart from the workshop and office building, the new building complex will have three wings with test benches and a technical centre. The total building surface area is around 36,000 square meters. Amongst others, the new centre will also house 43 newest-generation performance test benches.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place last summer and since then the construction has grown in 180,000 accident-free working hours, Opel said.

The new complex is part of the investments of EUR230m investments in new testing and engineering facilities at the International Technical Development centre and at the test centre in Rodgau-Dudenhofen. The lion's share of that, 210 million euro, is being invested in the Rüsselsheim site. The complex will cover an area of around 13,000 square meters south of the railroad tracks and west of Portal 45 in Rüsselsheim, parallel to the Rugbyring. This is the largest building investment in Rüsselsheim since the opening of the new production plant in 2002.

The site is embedded in the global engineering network of the GM Powertrain Organisation.