Stellantis plant in Eisenach, Germany to take over Opel Grandland production in 2022

The social climate shows signs of appeasement at Stellantis in Germany. On Wednesday November 17, the automaker and the IG Metall union announced that the German factories of Opel would be kept under the same entity. The group also indicated that production of the Opel Grandland would resume in Eisenach in January 2022. Enough to alleviate fears about the industrial future of the brand across the Rhine.

Opel’s SUV will be manufactured exclusively at its German plant from the first week of January 2022, said the manufacturer born from the merger between PSA and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Its production had been transferred to France, to Sochaux (Doubs), after the closure of the German site of Eisenach in September because of shortages of chips. The closure of the site, described as temporary, made the unions fear the definitive abandonment of the assembly activity on site.

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This announcement confirms information from Reuters according to which Eisenach was to resume production of the Grandland in early 2022. An equipment manufacturer had assured Reuters that he had received order volumes for Eisenach with a view to restarting the production of here February.

Stellantis abandons plan to split Opel

Trade unions and local politicians in Germany had criticized the lack of communication from Stellantis on its plans for the Russelsheim and Eisenach sites, in particular on the plan to legally isolate them from the Opel entity. The manufacturer explained in September that such an evolution of the structure would make it possible to gain in efficiency and flexibility. The powerful organization IG Metall denounced for its part a “dismantling” of Opel and threatened the company with a hard conflict.

In a statement, the IG Metall union announced that the works council and employee representatives had agreed that the proposed split “was no longer on the table.” Eisenach will, however, become an independent company within Opel Automobile GmbH, but Russelsheim’s legal structure will remain unchanged, the union added.

“The outsourcing and spin-off of Opel has been prevented and employment secured. I hope that from now on, management will steer the business in a more constructive and transparent manner in the future ”, commented Joerg Koehlinger, representative of IG Metall. Stellantis also confirmed this part of the deal.

Concerns of unions about factory optimization

Since the creation of the group in January, General Manager Carlos Tavares has been working on optimizing the many factories in Europe inherited from PSA, Opel-Vauxhall and Fiat. Each site should eventually be able to produce just about any model from the ten or so Stellantis brands from a few common architectures.

Even though Stellantis has promised that the PSA-FCA merger will not lead to site closures, this flexibility makes unions fear that one day the group will decide to do without its less competitive factories, especially when they are deprived of volumes. . “The decision to close a factory for several months […] and the transfers of volumes to other sites always gives rise to fears of more sustainable transfers ”, confided a union source.

The production of the Grandland was inaugurated in 2017 on the Sochaux lines, before the car left for Eisenach. This is where the German cousin of Peugeot 2008 will end his career, around 2024, when his successor will be announced.

With Reuters (Report Gilles Gillaume in Paris and Victoria Waldersee in Berlin; edited by Blandine Hénault and Jean-Michel Bélot)


Source: UsineNouvelle – Actualités A la une by www.usinenouvelle.com.

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