General Motors Co.'s Opel unit is thinking about selling its Eisenach plant in Germany, where it currently manufactures its Corsa subcompact, according to German newspaper Handelsblatt, citing a source. Handelsblatt’s source said that there’s a significant possibility that Opel would sell its Eisenach to another investor.
Opel’s Eisenach plant built 139,185 Corsas in 2011, and is due to add another vehicle, a minicar codenamed the Junior, on its production lines. Opel recently slashed production at its Eisenach site by cutting the working hours from 38 hours per week to around 30 per week until the summer, when the company slowly commences the pre-launch production of the Junior.
Opel is currently under pressure from GM chief executive Dan Akerson to reduce excess capacity, as the unit prepares itself for another restructuring measure aimed at making profits. The current economic crisis in Europe has had a big impact on car sales and Akerson estimates that manufacturers across the continent have 10 plants too many.
Opel will reportedly shut down assembly plants in Ellesmere Port, England, and Bochum, Germany, but the truth is, the carmaker’s supervisory board adjourned a meeting on Wednesday without arriving at a decision on restructuring measures.
The company intends to follow the restructuring concept "Viability Plan 6," the full implementation of which would result in the simultaneous closure of its Antwerp, Belgium, and Bochum plants as well the sale of its Eisenach site.
Opel injected EUR190 million ($252 million) of fresh investment in 2011 to expand Eisenach, allowing the site to hike the number of components built in-house. The "Viability Plan 6” was conceptualized during the post-Lehman crisis but was never fully implemented.