Labor unrest grows at Opel over output plans for Corsa and Karl

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 26, 2014

Opel, a European unit of American carmaker General Motors, is facing a labor conflict in Germany over production plans for the Corsa subcompact and the Karl minicar, according to a report by Bilanz business magazine. Opel’s unions are mad on plans to build the Karl and the Vauxhall Viva at a capacity-extended GM site in South Korea, instead of an underused plant in Germany.

The unions are also worried that Opel would build the sixth-generation Corsa entirely at a GM's site in Zaragoza, Spain, Bilanz said. Opel currently builds the Corsa both in Zaragosa and in Eisenach, Germany.

They are worried that Opel would skip Eisenach for the project since the site has no press shot. Workers at the German site are claiming that the Spanish plant is already producing more Corsas than agreed, the report said.

Labor representatives are also angry that carmaker decided to build more auto components at its Tychy site in Poland, instead of Germany. A spokesman for the carmaker has confirmed to Automotive News Europe that production of the Karl minicar is set in Korea South while the output of the fifth-generation Corsa is bound in Eisenach and Zaragoza.

The Karl is derived from the Chevrolet Spark that is also produce in South Korea. Opel will start selling the five-door minicar in Europe in summer 2015, replacing the Suzuki-built Agila. The Karl – made to appeal to customers of the Chevrolet brand – will have a starting price EUR10,000 ($12,926) in Germany.

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