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Vauxhall and Opel plants across continental Europe and England are introducing extra shifts ahead of this year’s planned summer shutdown.

Improved demand for several Opel/Vauxhall models, including the new Astra and Insignia, has fuelled the need for more working time across the continent.

“We have three extra shifts in Bochum, three in Gliwice [Poland], three in Luton [England], two in Russelsheim [Germany] and three in Zaragoza [Spain] in the first half of July,” a GM spokesman in Germany told just-auto.

“We have many customer orders especially for the new products [for example] more than 170,000 orders for the new five-door Astra being built at Ellesmere Port [England] and Gliwice, more than 30,000 for the Meriva and a good order bank for the Opel Insignia and Buick Regal.”

Production of the 2011 Regal, built for North America on the Isignia platform with two- and 2.4-litre I4 engines, began in Germany last March. Opel also built the Cadillac Catera (a rebadged Omega) some years ago.

The traditional summer shutdown will still go ahead from 19 July to 13 August at Bochum, Russelsheim and Eisenach and from 26 July to 13 August at Gliwice, Luton and Zaragoza.

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The spokesman added these dates were the same as last year. GM’s Antwerp plant slated for closure, will also shut down from mid-July to mid-August.

In contrast, most GM plants in the US will forego traditional summer shutdowns to help meet buyer demand for Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac cars, crossovers, and trucks.

Nine of the 11 assembly plants will continue to operate during the shut-down period from 28 June to 9 July 9.

Most of GM’s US stamping and powertrain plants will also work to support assembly operations.  The decision is expected to generate up to 56,000 additional vehicles.

“This move will help buyers waiting for high-demand products such as the Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia,” said GM North America president Mark Reuss.