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.