GERMANY: Opel restructures production network

By just-auto.com editorial team | 6 October 2005

Opel is reorganising its European manufacturing network, reports Automobilwoche.

According to the newspaper, Opel's Gliwice plant in Poland has won the contract to build the next generation Meriva, rather than Zaragoza, Spain, where the model is currently built.

Meanwhile the replacement for the Agila is likely to move from Poland to Suzuki's Hungarian plant, Esztergom, from 2008.

Gliwice will also get the next Astra from 2010/2011. Production will continue at the three existing sites - Bochum, Ellesmere Port and Antwerp.

Workers' representatives have until October 10 to convince Opel management they should keep the Meriva, but the chances of them doing so are minimal, according to the newspaper.Part of the reason for the move is the fact that the new Meriva will be larger than the previous model and share platform components with the Astra, rather than the Corsa. The Zafira, also based on the Astra platform, is already built at Gliwice.

Other recent restructuring of the GM Europe manufacturing network includes the fact that the Cadillac BLS will start production at Trollhättan, Sweden, from next year, and that the Saab 9-5 replacement will be built at Rűsselsheim from 2008. In an interview with Automobilwoche, GM Europe COO Carl-Peter Forster said that a logical extension of this strategy could be to produce Chevrolet cars in Europe, possibly the Kalos or Matiz, depending on demand.