Figueruelas keeps the Corsa and will also manufacture its electric versionAutomotive News
It will be the first Opel plant to produce a 100% electric vehicle in Europe
The announcement comes a day after the signing of the collective agreement between management and works council
The Zaragoza plant of Opel in Figueruelas remains finally, exclusively with the new generation of the Corsa and, in addition, will manufacture the electric version of this vehicle, has announced
this Wednesday the CEO of the German brand, Michael Lohscheller.
With this, Figueruelas will be the first plant of the German brand to produce a 100% electric vehicle in Europe. For the manager, the decision communicated this Wednesday is a step forward and decisive for Opel, which bought in March 2017 the French Group PSA (Peugeot, Citroën and DS).
In this way, the plant would have its two production lines at full capacity when this model is introduced, “one of the most sold in Europe in one of the segments with the highest volume”, that of the compacts. The Opel Corsa closed last year with 232,738 units sold, 12% less and was the eighth among the 10 most delivered in the European Union. The vehicle, moreover, is at the end of its life cycle and the proximity of the arrival of the new generation reduces its sales. The launch of the sixth generation of the Corsa is planned for the last quarter of 2019 and the electric model will be launched in 2020.
The managers of the company ruled out to specify the volumes that will be manufactured of the new models that arrive. However, Antonio Cobo, president of Opel Spain, if advanced that line 2 “will be designed to ensure full flexibility of production” between electric models and combustion models of the Corsa. “We can not size the plant based on electrical manufacturing because the demand is very variable,” he said. Line 1 is already “at full capacity” with Aircross, Crossland X and Mokka.
According to Cobo, if you work in six shifts (three per line) the plant can return to the path of half a million vehicles produced by the time the two models enter production. “If the weekend shifts were added, we could reach 600,000 units,” said the manager, although he is more in favor of an assembly figure of between 480,000 and 500,000 units.
The manager has avoided specifying the investment that will be made for the arrival of the Corsa, but has advanced that it will be “substantial and sufficient to face this new stage”. He stressed that the award of the model has been possible thanks to the “intense dialogue and negotiation” that has been maintained with workers and unions to make Figueruelas “more competitive”.
The management of Opel Spain and the company committee signed yesterday the collective agreement that sets the working conditions of the more than 5,400 employees of the Zaragoza factory until 2022. With the new agreement, the unions and the French group PSA have agreed to freeze wages in 2018 and a 50% increase in the CPI in 2019 and 2020 and 60% in 2021 and 2022. In addition, the workers have managed to continue hiring 170 temporary employees.
However, they will have a decrease of the 5% bonuses and the rest time will be reduced. The objective of PSA was to gain competitiveness in the plant by reducing its labor costs which, according to their numbers, in Figueruelas would be 17.2% higher than those of the other two plants of the group in Spain (Vigo and Villaverde, in Madrid).
During the negotiation, the management of Opel already warned that the agreement was an “essential requirement” to guarantee the necessary investments and to achieve increase the competitiveness of the plant (Opel wants to reduce the cost per vehicle production to 700 euros).
The Corsa will be one of the four electrified models of Opel’s offer in 2020, in accordance with the Plan Pace presented in November to make the German brand once again profitable, both global and electric, among which the variant will also be found GrandLand X plug-in hybrid. Within the strategic plan, the company expects that by 2024 all its ranges will have electrical variants.
This plan contemplates, in turn, achieve cost savings of 700 euros per car by 2020 and work to achieve an operating margin of 2% and positive cash flow also for 2020 and 6% by 2026.
Zaragoza has been manufacturing the Corsa since 1982 and has produced almost 13 million cars. Currently, it has two production lines, one of which is dedicated to the Mokka X, Crossland X and Citroën C3 Aircross; and the other, which must be prepared, will be for the Corsa.
CINCO DIAS Noemi Navas -Madrid – 14 FEB 2018 (Translation Soft)