Opel/Vauxhall will build its latest model, an all-new small car below the Corsa, at its Eisenach plant in the east German state of Thuringia.
“This is a further milestone in the growth strategy for our business,” said Opel/Vauxhall CEO Nick Reilly. “Our €90 million investment in the Eisenach plant will significantly strengthen its role within our European manufacturing network, and will offer customers a brand-new model with innovative technology and exciting design.”
Speaking at a press conference in Eisenach on Thursday, Reilly said the plant’s production flexibility would be further enhanced to allow the new car to be built efficiently on the existing production line. This investment will secure the jobs in Eisenach throughout the years to come, he added.
The stylish and fuel-efficient car is targeted at the segment below the Corsa. With this distinct new vehicle, Opel/Vauxhall is delivering on its promise of expanding its product portfolio and entering new segments.
The future car “Made in Eisenach” is geared towards customers who need a small-sized fuel-efficient car in urban areas, for example, but who do not want to compromise on technology, design or convenience. The start of regular production is planned for 2013. At a later stage, this car might also provide the opportunity of a battery-electric version for zero-emission driving in city areas.
“This new product will be an important element in our growth strategy” said Reilly. “Along with other new vehicles, such as the upcoming electric Ampera, a sporty coupe and a small SUV, we will significantly expand our product lineup in the future and offer customer choices in several more segments.”
The Eisenach plant is one of the most modern plants in the world in the areas of lean production, efficiency, quality, environmental compatibility, and safety. Opel/Vauxhall started its involvement in Eisenach in 1990 by founding a joint venture with Automobilwerke Eisenach (AWE); the newly-built plant was subsequently opened in September 1992. To date, Opel/Vauxhall has invested €1.5 billion into the manufacturing site. Opel Eisenach has 1600 employees who are currently building the three-door version of the Corsa.
The decision to build the small car in Eisenach also has a very positive effect on Opel/Vauxhall’s manufacturing plant in Zaragoza, Spain. As the new car comes on stream in Eisenach, Zaragoza will receive additional Corsa production volume. As a result, both plants will be able to produce volumes exceeding current levels.
“Our Eisenach plant has a highly-motivated workforce, producing vehicles of outstanding quality. Our new model will benefit from this the same way the Corsa does now,” Reilly said. “At the same time, the addition of this vehicle to our portfolio is a true win-win as we will be able to increase the planned production volumes for Eisenach’s sister plant in Zaragoza as well.”
This announcement marks the third major Opel/Vauxhall investment commitment within the past seven days. On September 15, the company announced it will significantly strengthen its Kaiserslautern plant as a component manufacturing center and expand local engine production.
September 21, Opel/Vauxhall announced a €500 million investment in its engine plant in Szentgotthard, Hungary. There, Opel will build a new facility for the production of three new engines families that will fulfill Euro 6 emissions standards, add direct injection to gasoline powertrain, secure a low power/weight ratio, provide smooth running and substantially reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
“We are moving forward swiftly with our growth plan,” said Reilly. “Whether we’re talking about customer-focused initiatives such as our unprecedented Lifetime Warranty program, the signing of Lena Meyer-Landrut as an Opel brand ambassador, or a series of investment announcements, it is obvious that Opel has gained a substantial momentum on its way to a successful future.”