General Motors Co. could build the Chevrolet Cruze at an Opel factory in Poland and other Chevrolet models in Germany as part of plans to return its money-losing European operations to profitability, according to union sources.
GM is discussing with unions transferring some Chevrolet production from South Korea to Opel in Europe to make its European plants more efficient, people close to the leadership of the German union IG Metall told Reuters.
In exchange, GM would get a free hand to push ahead with the cost-cutting it says it needs to reverse losses at Opel. The Ruesselsheim-based automaker has lost roughly $13 billion since 1999.
One idea would be shifting production of the high-volume Cruze compact car to Gliwice, Poland, and then swapping production from that Opel plant to others in western Europe, according to the sources, who asked not to be identified discussing union strategy. The Gliwice plant builds the Astra compact.
Another proposal under discussion would bring output of the Chevrolet Orlando crossover to Opel's Bochum, Germany, plant, according to sources. Bochum, which builds the Zafira minivan, has long been considered the Opel plant most likely to be closed.
IG Metall also wants the Chevrolet Captiva medium SUV and its Opel Antara sibling to be built in Bochum, former Opel union boss Klaus Franz told Automotive News Europe late last year. He also said the next Agila subcompact should be built in Gliwice instead of in Korea as GM plans. Currently the model is produced at Suzuki's factory in Hungary.
Opel's union also wants a new Opel small SUV built in Zaragoza, Spain.
GM exported about 250,000 vehicles to Europe from South Korea last year.
GM CEO Akerson in August said GM's "what-should-we-do list" included plans to build Chevrolet vehicles in Europe. GM wants to outline a clear strategy for Opel by the end of March, said one source familiar with the thinking of Akerson.