MUNICH -- General Motors Co.'s Opel/Vauxhall unit dismissed media reports that jobs at its Ruesselsheim, Germany, engineering center are at risk under plans to transfer development of the next Zafira minivan to GM's new alliance partner, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, in France.
The move was reported by Spiegel magazine and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, which both said hundreds of jobs are at risk at the center, near Frankfurt.
The center has 4,500 employees and develops GM's global architectures for compact and mid-size cars, including the Buick Regal and Chevrolet Cruze sedans and Opel Astra hatchback.
Reacting to the reports, Opel CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke said there will be no job losses in the Ruesselsheim engineering center due to the GM-PSA alliance.
"As part of the initial announcement earlier this year, GM/Opel and PSA stated their intent to cooperate in several areas including product development," Stracke said in a statement. "Whatever the final split will be among the agreed common projects, no jobs will be lost in the engineering center in Ruesselsheim due to the alliance, in fact, the nature of the alliance is that it is a balanced one."
Last year, the Zafira compact minivan was Opel's fifth best-selling model in Europe with a volume of 72,064, down 20 percent from the year before, according to researchers JATO Dynamics. The third-generation Zafira launched late last year.
First joint project
German reports on Thursday had said that moving development of the next-generation Zafira to PSA is the first joint project agreed by GM and the French automaker.
Opel will also move some office work to Poland, leading to the loss of 150 to 200 jobs, Spiegel said.