MUNICH – Opel cars built in Germany could be exported to the US, says General Motors Vice Chairman Robert Lutz.
Lutz said GM is interested in producing similar Saturn and Opel models in either Europe or North America and shipping both ways across the Atlantic.
Saturn and Opel both are GM-owned brands.
Its certainly something we would want to seriously consider, Lutz told Automotive News Europe during a press event here.
Although he gave no specific timetable, Lutz said production sharing could increase as the Saturn and Opel lineups become almost identical.
Once we get the Saturn product completely aligned with the Opel product and they are fundamentally the same, Lutz said, then we absolutely have the possibility of doing some models in the US and shipping them to Europe and doing other models in Europe and shipping them to the US. Now you get
GM already is building Opels new GT roadster in the US in Wilmington, Delaware, next to its sister car, the Saturn Sky. Future Saturns have been developed using Opels engineering and design staff in Rüsselsheim, near Frankfurt, Germany.
Opel also is the GM global development center for GMs next range of small- and mid-sized cars.
Workers representatives in Germany have been pressuring GM to export Opel cars to the US to secure jobs and fill under-used capacity in German factories.
GM should take advantage of the global size of the company and sell modern Opels in the US under the badge of Saturn, Klaus Franz, chairman of Opels works council told Automobilwoche, ANEs sister publication, in December. In the future, Lutz said, Saturn vehicles derived from Opels would only need minor bumper changes to meet US regulations. He called them invisible compliance parts.
– Harald Hamprecht contributed
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