Opel/Vauxhall denied reports by German media that hundreds of employees at the company’s engineering center in Ruesselsheim, Germany, are at risk of losing their jobs. The Spiegel magazine and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, both German publications, said that jobs are at risk on plans to transfer development of the next Zafira minivan to General Motors Co.’s new partner, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, in France.
Opel chief executive Karl-Friedrich Stracke gave assurances that its employees at the Ruesselsheim engineering center will not lose their jobs due to the GM-PSA alliance. In a statement, Stracke said the plan to transfer the Zafira development was part of the agreement between parent company GM and PSA to cooperate in several areas including product development.
Stracke remarked that any decision made on the split of common projects will not affect the jobs in the engineering center in Ruesselsheim, adding that the nature of the GM-PSA alliance is a balanced one.
The Ruesselsheim engineering center employs 4,500 people and is responsible for developing GM's global architectures for compact and mid-size cars, including the Buick Regal, Chevrolet Cruze, and Opel Astra. According to researchers at JATO Dynamics, the Zafira compact minivan was Opel's fifth best-selling model in Europe, with sales of 72,064 units in 2011, 20% lower than in 2010.
By offering a superb driving experience, fully efficient powertrain line-up, hip appearance and advanced technology, the all-new Opel Astra, which was launched as a five-door hatchback in the 2009 IAA in Frankfurt, is set to breathe new life into the compact car segment in Europe.
Upholding Opel’s tradition that started in 1936 with Opel Kadett as its pioneer, the Opel Astra has constantly landed one of the top three spots in the string of Europe’s popular compact cars for years – a segment which covers 27 percent of the overall market of vehicles. The sales of the Astra comprise one third of the total Opel/ Vauxhall buys, averaging at about 500,000 units sold per year.
The latest Astra ushers in the use of safety and comfort features in the small-sized family of vehicles from the upper segment – and most of these were presented by the Insignia to the midsize car family. Remarkable technologies like the new mechatronic chassis, the most innovative lighting system, a camera at the front that identifies traffic signs, and seats with top-of-the-line ergonomics will be available.
Opel/Vauxhall’s Vice President of Sales, Marketing & Aftersales Alain Visser said that the brand new Astra moves the bar higher in the compact class with incomparable design, dynamic driving and awesome features. It demonstrates that Opel builds cars that connect to the driver’s feelings and that are fully equipped with the excellence of German technology.
Opel's new design language reinterpreted for the compact class
The latest Astra gives the compact class its unique definition of the brand’s exemplary design language of putting together "sculptural artistry with German precision" first witnessed in the Opel Insignia. Its tough coupé-like facade and elegant details give the vehicle a new sporty look. Sleek proportions give a masculine, cab-forward appeal, with a steeply-raked windshield and low rear roofline, that adds an eye-catching visual to the common format of the hatchback.