German component supplier, Kirchhoff, is negotiating with Opel to take over its Kaiserslautern component plant.


Opel has been seeking a partner for the plant for some time and had originally hoped to find one last year. According to local press reports, both parties have formed working parties to examine how to position the plant to succeed as a competitive component supplier.


Last year it became clear that Opel’s chairman, Hans Demant, wants to increase outsourcing to reduce the German cost base and to focus on core competencies. Automobilwoche said it had seen internal documents that recommended outsourcing some purchasing functions and facility management from Ruesselsheim.


In Kaiserslautern, the report suggested that the complete service department, with around 600 employees, could be outsourced to Thyssen Krupp Serv or Johnson Controls.


It has already been confirmed that the post and printing department, with 115 employees, will be outsourced to Pitney Bowes.


Last year, Opel outsourced its tooling operations to the Austrian company TCM. The jobs have remained on-site but Opel is no longer the employer.


For a component supplier to take over production at the plant takes things a step further. The deal only concerns the chassis component plant – not the engine plant, which is part of GM Powertrain.


According to Automobilwoche, Kirchhoff would not be interested in taking over the service department.


Kirchhoff Automotive produces stampings and structural metal components in 16 plants in nine countries worldwide. The company has around 3,000 employees.