Opel's works council accepted PSA Group's plans to transfer 2,000 engineering jobs in Ruesselsheim, Germany, to the French engineering firm Segula Technologies.
All 6,440 workers at Opel's engineering center will be offered severance packages or early retirement options. Of the employees who do not take one of those plans, 2,000 will then be employed by Segula, which has pledged to honor PSA's commitment to avoid layoffs until 2023.
Segula and PSA announced the plan last September.
PSA acquired the Ruesselsheim engineering center when it bought the Opel and Vauxhall brands from General Motors in 2017. The center, which once served General Motors Europe and also developed projects for GM worldwide, has excess capacity under PSA, which has been moving Opel models onto PSA platforms in an effort to cut costs by 700 euros per car.
Under PSA's Pace turnaround plan for Opel, which lost nearly 1 billion euros annually under GM over several decades, the Ruesselsheim site will work on homologation for future North American models, fuel cell development, light-commercial vehicles and a new family of gasoline engines.
Segula will continue projects already begun under PSA and will seek new contracts from German automakers.
Opel has been shedding jobs under PSA CEO Carlos Tavares, who has pledged to minimize layoffs in favor of buyouts and early retirement. As of last autumn, the brand had about 32,000 employees, down from 38,000 at the time of acquisition, Tavares said. About 4,000 jobs have been lost in Germany, and about 800 at the Vauxhall factory in Ellesmere Port in northern England.
Opel reported a profit of 859 million euros ($979 million) for 2018, a 4.7 percent return on sales of 20.9 billion euros.
Martin Lange, head of Segula's operations in Germany, told the Handelsblatt newspaper that he expected 1,500 or more Opel workers to accept jobs with Segula. The newspaper calculated that the buyout and early retirement options could result in up to 700 staff reductions at Ruesselsheim.
Segula, a privately held company started in 2000, has about 12,000 employees globally, working in the fields of automotive, aerospace, energy, naval, railways, and oil and gas. Automotive work makes up about 55 percent of Segula's business, and executives said the company hoped to use its expanded presence in Germany to drive future contracts in China.