Opel dismisses report that a German factory will build PSA midsized cars
FRANKFURT -- General Motors' Opel unit dismissed as speculation a report that it will build Peugeot and Citroen midsized cars at its factory in Ruesselsheim, Germany.
Citing union officials, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that Opel is preparing to build future versions of the Citroen C5 and Peugeot 508 cars in Ruesselsheim.
"There is such a scenario that is currently being negotiated in a serious manner with the French," the paper quoted a senior German union official, Armin Schild, as saying.
The move would give Ruesselheim an extra 130,000 units of annual production and allow the factory to operate on three shifts, making it more cost efficient, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said on Tuesday.
Opel called the report "pure speculation" while PSA/Peugeot-Citroen declined to comment.
"The area of manufacturing is not currently an element of the alliance agreement between GM and PSA. The two partners are discussing the areas of logistics, purchasing and engineering," Opel said in a statement.
The C5 and 508 are built in PSA's factory in Rennes, France. Ruesselsheim builds mid-sized Insignia and Astra compact models
In May, Jean-Luc Perrard, the head of the Rennes plant, told a French newspaper that production of the replacement C5 will move to a GM plant.
Production of PSA's mid-sized cars in Ruesselsheim would offset plans to pull the Astra from the factory and build the new-generation Astra only in Ellesmere Port, England, and Gliwice, Poland, previous reports have said.
In return for moving production of its midsized cars to Germany, PSA would gain production of the Opel Zafira minivan at an as-yet unidentified French plant, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said.
As part of their partnership announced in February, GM and PSA said that both companies' mid-sized cars would draw on GM platforms in future while subcompacts such as the Opel Corsa and Citroen C3 would be based on PSA technology.
Job cuts in Germany, Spain
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said Opel was planning severance packages for 1,500 workers each in its home plant in Ruesselsheim, Germany, as well as in Zaragoza in Spain.
Opel denied the report, saying it only offered individual packages in both plants, and estimated that the number of workers affected in Ruesselsheim were below 100.
"We are in exchange adding new workers in strategically important areas," Opel personnel chief Holger Kimmes said in the statement.
Sources: Reuters, Automotive News Europe