Opel / Vauxhall to build Astra in UK from 2015 image

The next model of Opel’s popular Astra car would be manufactured entirely at GM’s factories in Ellesmere Port, UK, and Gliwice, Poland from 2015, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) wrote on Monday.

Ellesmere Port, which employs 2,100 workers directly, has been one of the plants earmarked for closure under a review of GM’s continental operations.

Opel/Vauxhall, GM’s European arm, lost $747m (£463m) last year – a performance described by GM as “simply unacceptable“.

Yesterday’s report in Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, citing sources close to the negotiations, said GM would confirm its plans in the middle of this month.

A spokesman said that talks continued and no decision had yet been made.

According to the report, Opel’s works council at the Rüsselsheim plant had offered cost-cutting measures, including wage cuts, to the tune of 70 million euros ($90.9 million) to finance investment needed for the new Astra to be produced at the factory.

Insisting on the new model to be produced there, Opel works council chief Wolfgang Schäfer-Klug told the FAZ that closing Astra production at Rüsselsheim would be “devastating.”
GM said earlier on Thursday that it swung to an underlying loss of $256 million in Europe for the first quarter, excluding extraordinary non-cash impairments, mainly due to a sharp drop in sales volumes.