Struggling German auto maker Opel is planning to stop the production of its most important brand Astra in Germany earlier than originally envisaged. But no negative impact is expected on the firm’s head location.
The General Motors European subsidiary said the production of its Astra compact would be halted at the Rüsselsheim facility in Germany as of early 2015 and not continue until the end of the production cycle for the car, the business daily “Handelsblatt” reported on Friday.
The newspaper report claimed that Opel’s successful model Astra would then only be assembled abroad in Ellesmere Port in Britain and predominantly in Gliwice in Poland.
“The company wants to make the best use of free production capacities in Poland,” Opel was quoted as saying.
The “Handelsblatt” said the reasoning behind the move had been the forthcoming closure of Opel’s German facility at Bochum towards the end of 2014. It said the Zafira model which was currently built in Bochum would move to Rüsselsheim in early 2015.
“With our decision to assemble the Zafira in Rüsselsheim as of 2015, we’ll be able to ensure a smooth transition for our employees there who with the Zafira and the Insignia will be able to build two top brands in the Opel portfolio,” the company said through a spokesman.
GM’s Opel subsidiary has been in the red for many years not least due to the impact of the protracted debt crisis in the eurozone. The parent company has a restrictive policy on the non-European markets in which Opel can operate. General Motors recently announced an investment offensive to make the ailing carmaker profitable again, but also insisted excessive capacities had to be reduced.
Opel already had to close down its facility in Antwerp, Belgium, with Bochum, Germany soon to become another victim of production streamlining.