It may have lost production of the next-generation Astra but GM Europe and its European Employee Forum (EEF) have agreed the plant will make “two models of a new generation vehicle” from one of GM’s global architectures for the European market.

Based on the current forecast an annual volume of up to 120,000 units is foreseen, GM said, noting that the exclusivity for European production of Antwerp is envisaged for the full life-cycle of the new product.

“Furthermore, GME will review potential opportunities for additional models, assuming the ongoing competitiveness of the plant,” the automaker said late on Tuesday.

But GM noted enhanced competitiveness is a prerequisite for the new production programme at Antwerp.

This includes the determination of a future three-shift-model, which also is dependent on technical capabilities, financially viable options and the detailed work organisation. Management and employee representatives will continue to jointly work on viable solutions.

After a meeting with employee representatives in Rüsselsheim, Germany, GM Europe president Carl-Peter Forster said: “The significant structural improvements we are aiming for will make it possible to allocate an appropriate production volume to the plant.”

Klaus Franz, chairman of the EEF, said: “After we’ve achieved our target to avoid a plant closure, we’ve now reached the second important step forward to get two products to Antwerp that point the way ahead. One of these products will be an Opel model and there are good opportunities for an additional model.”

The plan for a new production allocation also reflects strong sales of GME’s brands and the success of its multi-brand strategy in Europe. In the first quarter of 2007 GME set a sales record with almost 554,000 deliveries and a market share of 9.8%, the best in 10 years.