General Motors Co’s European brand, Opel will stop making Astra vehicles in Ruesselsheim, Germany, in 2015, not 2016 as the company said last month, German business daily Handelsblatt announced on Friday.
Shortly after, Opel will start to assembly Zafira vehicles in Ruesselsheim after the automaker announced many times that they will shut down their Bochum plant, as the company failed to reach an agreement with the workers.
As expected, the losing-making automaker will increase the production of Astra vehicles in Poland, at the Gliwice factory. In the U.K., where the Germans are assembling the successful Astra model, there will be no changes.
Last year the automaker made over 50,000 Astra vehicles in Ruesselsheim.
Bochum, a city in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), western Germany has a population of nearly 380,000 and has an unemployment rate of over 15 percent. The situation is in the “red-area” considering the fact that four years ago, mobile-phone maker Nokia shut its facility almost overnight, which resulted in a loss of over 4,000 jobs.
Opel begun car production in Bochum in 1962, almost 51 years ago, but today the situation in Europe is different. Last month, in Germany, Opel announced a decline of 16 percent from a year earlier, even if the company has launched its new citycat – the new Adam model. Overall the German carmaker shank 10 percent in May – the worst decline from the beginning of the year.
“40,000 jobs in our county is attached to the plant,” said Helmut Diegel, Executive Director of Industry and Commerce in Middle Ruhr.
Losing money machine
Since 1999 the German division of General Motors lost over $18 billion (almost $2 billion last year) and the situation is not moving into the right direction as sales of its new citycar, the new Adam model don’t look as bright as expected. Last year total sales of Opel vehicles in Europe and EFTA fell almost 16 percent to just 830,000 vehicles.