Production cuts at Opel in Rüsselsheim and Eisenach
Author: Osman Cetinkaya
Are production cuts at Opel coming soon? According to statements from company circles, the number of cycles in the plant in Rüsselsheim should be reduced from 55 to 42 vehicles per hour after the summer holidays. In Eisenach only 30 instead of 37 cars shall be built per hour. At the Polish site Gliwice the reduction has already been carried out. Instead of 40 only 25 vehicles leave the production line here every hour.
In the meantime, the employees are very worried that the Opel-plants might reduce the production permanently and finally close completely. Underutilized factories reduce the productivity and thus the competitiveness of Opel’s locations. Other locations of the French parent company PSA Peugeot Citroen are in a much better position. According to an Opel spokesman, the production planning is “of course regularly” adjusted. But details were not disclosed.
PSA CEO Carlos Tavares trims Opel continuously on return since the takeover last year. Investments were made only in highly competitive factories, and no concessions were made to employees. Only employment insurance until 2023 was granted.
In the first half of 2018, Opel had been able to write black figures for the first time in years. Recently, Tavares announced that they are currently looking for service providers for the Rüsselsheim development center. But this caused new displeasure.
Just one year ago, the traditional German company was bought by the French carmaker. At that time PSA CEO Tavares said: “It can no longer be done the same as before, because the results are not good”.
Although the company has been gaining profits again, there is still a cause for concern: after all, Opel’s European market share has been declining lately.
Most of the technology of the first joint models of PSA and Opel comes from PSA, including the new Corsa. Opel takes the design role in the process and gives the cars with suspension tuning and design elements the typical Opel look. Because of that, experts such as Ferdinand Dudenhöffer fear that Opel could become a PSA design cover.
However, Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller tries to avoid this consistently and therefore promised in several interviews: “Opel will become more German than it ever was.”