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Report: GM to make next Opel Astra at four plants

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Report: GM to make next Opel Astra at four plants

Automotive News / April 16, 2007 - 9:00 am

FRANKFURT (Reuters) -- General Motors Europe will build the next-generation Astra compact car at four plants in Europe, including its German factory in Bochum, Germany's Auto Zeitung newspaper reported today, citing Opel sources.

It did not name the other three plants that will get work for the new Delta platform of cars led by the Astra, GM's best-selling car in Europe with nearly half a million units sold last year.

The paper said an announcement was due on Tuesday, April 17.

GM makes the current Astra in Antwerp, Belgium; in Bochum; and in Ellesmere Port, Britain. Its Gliwice plant in Poland and the Trollhattan factory in Sweden also want the work.

General Motors's European workforce has already offered to cut costs by about $393 million (290 million euros) to improve competitiveness in the hope of preventing the closure of a another European plant, labor representatives said this month.

GM Europe's top labor leader, Klaus Franz, said there had been no decision yet on production sites for the next Astra, which is due for market launch in 2010.

A GM Europe spokesman in Zurich called the report "speculative" and declined further comment. A spokesman for GM's German brand Opel also declined comment.

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So if the 2010 Astra is going to be here, the 2008 Astra will be used to just test the waters in US? So the current Astra is good for only two years?
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So if the 2010 Astra is going to be here, the 2008 Astra will be used to just test the waters in US? So the current Astra is good for only two years?

No, the 2008 Astra arrives in 2007, three years before 2010. Beside which, Antwerp may still be building old Astras when the other plants are building new ones, at least for a little while.

General Motors Europe to Streamline Production of Next-Generation Compact Car

• 3.1 billion Euro total investment in next generation compact cars in Europe

• Assembly planned in Germany, U.K., Sweden and Poland

• Consultation to begin with European and Belgian employee representatives on future production

• Reduction of current Astra production intended at Antwerp, Belgium

Zürich/Antwerp. General Motors Europe today announced its plan to allocate assembly of its next-generation compact-sized cars to four manufacturing plants: Ellesmere Port, U.K.; Bochum, Germany; Trollhättan, Sweden; and Gliwice, Poland.

Production of the new vehicle, due to replace the existing Astra range in early 2010, is expected to involve a 3.1 billion Euro investment and a 30 percent productivity improvement.

There are no plans to allocate compact car production to the Antwerp, Belgium, facility beyond 2010. We are not talking about a plant closure, however, we have to achieve the necessary improvements. No decision has yet been taken on future production but we will work on options for assembly operations at fair volumes together with the European Employee Forum (EEF). GM Europe will continue the process of information and consultation accordingly. GM’s Antwerp plant currently employs 4,500 people to produce the 3- and 5-door version, the station wagon and the convertible of the current-generation Opel Astra.

“Product allocations are extraordinarily difficult decisions to take,” said Carl-Peter Forster, President of General Motors Europe. “All of our Western European plants have significantly improved over the past few years and are now very close in terms of the various measures of performance, such as cost, productivity and quality. In the end, it is a strategic decision based on a number of factors such as capacity planning, brand and market considerations, as well as ongoing restructuring activities.”

Independent from future product allocations, current production at Antwerp is intended to be reduced in 2007, reflecting the normal diminution in demand over the current product’s lifecycle. GM Belgium is to begin consultations with employee representatives on staffing at Antwerp, where the elimination of the equivalent of a shift would require 1,400 fewer people.

Mr. Forster said: “I know that today’s announcements will be very difficult for our workforce in Antwerp. I want to recognize the contribution and performance of the entire team. We are committed to identifying a socially responsible approach to the intent to reduce the headcount later this summer by the reduction of production volume and to discuss alternatives for a fair transition beyond the end of the decade.

And Forster added: “The automotive business remains very challenging and GM Europe must continue to focus on increasing productivity and efficiency in order to compete effectively. We plan for an annual production of 750,000 units of compact cars in Europe, which is an increase over the 535,000 produced in 2006. Even with an increase, adjusting capacity to meet demand remains a challenge for GM as it is for other automakers worldwide. We would like to start soon the preparation work with our teams in Gliwice, Bochum, Ellesmere Port and Trollhättan for the production of the next generation, which will require reduced assembly time and an increase in productivity of 30 percent.”

Of those plants, Bochum currently employs 4,900 people, Ellesmere Port 2,200 people, Trollhättan 2,150 people and Gliwice 2,800 people

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Thanks Mr. Griffon for the reply.

I read that in the car connection today. Apparently this car is going to be a big deal for GM, probably bigger than Zeta.

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I'd imaging that we'll hear of lordstown doing Astra in the future for NA models.

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I'd imaging that we'll hear of lordstown doing Astra in the future for NA models.

Or Ramos Arizpe Assembly in Mexico! :smilewide:

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Where else would GM Europe build them?

so this article is talking specifically about gm europe? makes a little more sense...

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Or another plant in Mexico.

I doubt it would be another plant in Mexico, since the HHR is at Ramos now and is on the Delta platform.

Edited by Pontiac Custom-S
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But they're building another plant in Mexico for compacts, and the HHR is probably not related to the new Delta platform GM Europe is talking about.

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But they're building another plant in Mexico for compacts, and the HHR is probably not related to the new Delta platform GM Europe is talking about.

Hmmmm....
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