INTERNATIONAL – German car manufacturer Opel plans to drastically reduce production at its main plant in Ruesselsheim, regional newspaper the Mainzer Allgemeine reported on Thursday.
In an internal writing, workers' union IG Metall warned that only 68,000 instead of 123,000 cars compared to last year will be produced at Opel's main plant in Germany.
Originally, the target number had been 90,000 units. Opel did not want to publicly comment on internal production plans and numbers on Thursday but its spokesperson Harald Hamprecht explained that production was being "continuously adapted" in order to increase the capacity utilization of all plants including Ruesselsheim.
"The success of our new sales policy is demonstrated by the half-year figures," Hamprecht said. In the first six months of 2018, Opel and Vauxhall, which is marketed in Britain, achieved its "best result in decades" with an operating profit of more than 500 million euros (R7,757 bn).
At the moment, approximately 3,000 people are working in two shifts at the Ruesselheim plant to assemble the Insignia and Zafira car models, for which Opel just introduced a successor that will be built in Luton, north of London.
Opel's management now seeks to enter into negotiations with IG Metal in order to reduce the number of production shifts in Ruesselsheim from two to one. Since being part of the French PSA group, Opel has started to implement an efficiency program and is negotiating the outsourcing of 2,000 out of 7,000 jobs in development to external service provider Segula. In November 2018, Opel announced to carry out the restructuring without plant closures and operational redundancies until 2023.