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Opel’s silence speaks volumes in production update

megan lampinen | automotive world | 21 December 2016

PA Consulting Group’s Thomas Goettle, an automotive expert, is quoted in an article in Automotive World. The article examines Opel’s production revamp, as it looks to improve the efficiency of its regional operations. According to the article, some industry watchers have suggested it is also preparing for a possible withdraw from the UK in light of Brexit.

Commenting on Opel’s revamp, Thomas says: “Opel is finally doing its homework. This should have been done a long time ago.”

Thomas goes on to comment on the impact of making the same car in multiple plants for Opel: “By consolidating production a company can see huge benefits and synergies. We’re not talking one or two million; it’s more like a couple of hundred million.”

When it comes time to making a decision about the next-generation Astra, Thomas expects Opel to do what it usually does and look for competitive bids from the plants. “It will want to see who will offer the most attractive cost package to build it. There will probably be a special bargain among the unions, the works council and Opel. The plant operation will have to give on more flexible salaries, working hours, efficiencies, quality targets and overtime pay.”

Commenting on Opel’s future in the UK, Thomas says: “They will be squeezing Ellesmere Port much more. It won’t be just a matter of salaries but also efficiencies. If workers don’t reach a certain level of production with high quality then their salaries could be impacted.”

Thomas goes on to point out: “Brexit is definitely a big factor right now. Aside from Nissan which has announced it will bring the X-Trail to the UK, none of the OEMs we are talking to are thinking about moving any additional production of cars to the UK.”

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