Anyone want to buy a welding line?

Anyone want to buy a welding line?

Opel's final Astra rolled off its Antwerp production line yesterday (15 December) as speculation continues to swirl as to the future of the Belgian plant.

The tortuous saga that has seen the Flemish government, Opel's parent GM and European union representatives all seek a buyer for the Antwerp site, appears to have ended with no purchaser being found.

"This is the end now," Flanders Centre for Automotive Research consultant Vic Heylen told just-auto from Belgium today. "We had the television reports and pictures of the last cars on the assembly line."

"GM does not want to have cars built in its own back yard - what they want is what they did to Saab."

Opel's press and paint shop has been put in the hands of auctioneers Maynards for 'industrial liquidation' and although it is as yet unclear who might purchase those elements, it may be they are moved from Antwerp.

"A press shop can press sheet metal for any car but the production line is dedicated to the old Astra," said Heylen.

The consultant noted Flemish members of the European Parliament visited the Antwerp site in the company of some unnamed Chinese guests, although their identity continues to be a mystery.

"That was so puzzling," said Heylen. "Nobody knows who it is.

Further sources in Belgium indicated to just-auto today the plant "is definitely closing," but that the Port of Antwerp is now trying to buy the land and is in negotiations with GM to that effect.

Opel and its unions were not immediately available for comment.