A decision has yet to be made on the potential closure of one of the facilities in the European region owned by Opel/Vauxhall, CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke revealed. He further disclosed that he will be presenting a plan on June 28 for the automaker's Europe-wide venture to the supervisory board of Opel, which is a division of General Motors Co.
Moreover, he has informed the workers at Opel's Bochum factory in Germany that he intended to adhere to a labor agreement valid through 2014. He also told them that he had not made any decision yet on what will happen after that. There are speculations that the Bochum facility is at risk following last week's decision of Opel to take the production of the Astra compact automobile out from the company's main plant in Ruesselsheim, Germany.
At the time, Opel revealed that it will manufacture the new-generation Astra beginning 2015 only at its facilities in Gliwice in Poland and Ellesmere Port in England.
The move could lead to the relocation of the Zafira minivan production site to Ruesselheim from Bochum, generating worries that the Bochum unit will be closed. In addition, there are reports revealing that some production of GM's Chevrolet brand could be transferred to the European region from Asia, with the Ruesselsheim facility considered to be the potential beneficiary.
According to Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, the director of the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany, the reason General Motors will lower capacities is because the demand for Opel automobiles throughout the European region dropped 16 percent during the first quarter of 2012.
He said he anticipated the Bochum facility to be closed "after 2014." The annual production capacity of the Bochum plant is about 160,000 units. This facility manufactures older versions of the Astra station wagon and hatchback for eastern and central European regions. It also builds the Zafira.