Klaus Franz, the union official at General Motors' Opel/Vauxhall division, is convinced that the automaker’s restructuring has been accomplished and that the unit has "profitable growth." Franz, who serves as the deputy chairman of Opel's supervisory board, said that the unit won’t cut additional jobs after decreasing the total workforce by 8,000 in the last 12 months.
Franz told Automotive News Europe that there are now 40,000 employees in the entire Europe, a figure that he claims will be maintained for the long term. Opel will also add engineers and will be replacing departures over age.
He added that 160 new jobs will be added this year compared to the 250 jobs last year, according to Autonews. Opel is making the move from "defense to offensive" after reducing production capacity by 20% and will now focus on attaining profitable growth.
Franz aims to break even this year but beginning in 2012, it will seek “sustained profitability again.” Opel will create an extra shift at its main factory in Ruesselsheim, Germany.
Franz said that last September, production of the five-door Astra started in Ruesselsheim. A third shift will be introduced in the first quarter of 2012. Franz said that for this year, Opel aims to build over 20,000 Astra cars in Ruesselsheim.
He said that the five-door Astra volume in Ruesselsheim will be raised by 2012 to 80,000 to 90,000 units. The plant has three shifts in its plant, resulting to an annual capacity of 272,000 units of the Insignia and Astra models.
Opel produces the other half of the Astra five-door volume in Gliwice, Poland, and Ellesmere Port, England, which are where the Astra three-door, GT and notchback models are also built. Notably, the Astra Sports Tourer is built just in Ellesmere Port.