INDUSTRY NEWS:
Opel Looks To Its Plant in Gliwice, Poland For Astra Production
By PETER FITCH
17th APRIL 2012

Opel is consider options to transfer some production of its Astra compact car to Poland from one of its German plants according to industry sources.

Production of 10,000 Astra cars from its factory in Ruesselsheim, near Frankfurt, to its plant in Gliwice, southern Poland is a viable and cost cutting option.

Ruesselsheim currently builds 30,000 Astra cars annually, along with the Insignia mid-sized model, the paper said on Friday. Opel and Vauxhall brands, lost $747 million last year before interest and tax. Production at Ruesselsheim has been cut to four days a week because of a fall in demand.

In the first quarter, Opel/Vauxhall car sales dropped 15.8 percent to 227,590 in the EU and EFTA countries, according industry body ACEA. Total industry sales fell 6.6 percent. Ruesselsheim is one of four GM plants in Europe that build the Astra, along with Gliwice, Bochum in Germany and Ellesmere Port in England.

Opel believe the brand's falling market share in Europe is largely caused by a market that currently favors premium and budget brands, as well as pricing pressure as other automakers slash prices to improve capacity use at their factories.

The Astra was Opel's second best-selling model last year, with European sales of 327,458, up 2.7 percent from 2010, according to market researchers JATO Dynamics. The Corsa subcompact was No. 1, with sales of 327,717, down 1.5 percent.