MADRID – A factory in northeastern Spain of the German car manufacturer Opel will produce the next-generation Corsa as well as the electronic version of the model, the company’s CEO said on Wednesday.
Michael Lohscheller confirmed in the Spanish capital Madrid that the plant would be producing the sixth generation of the vehicle from 2019 and would begin manufacturing the electric equivalent of the Corsa the following year.
The plant in Figueruelas, near Zaragoza, would thus become the brand’s first in Europe to make a vehicle that is 100-percent electric.
For the executive, the move represented a step forward for the manufacturer, which was bought by French multinational PSA Group in March 2017.
While Lohscheller did not specify the investment made for the Corsa to be manufactured at the plant in Spain, he said the move was the fruit of dialogue and negotiations with workers and trade unions aimed at making Figueruelas more competitive.
The management of Opel Spain and the company’s committee signed a contract on Tuesday to secure the working conditions for the more than 5,400 employees based at the factory until 2022.
The Corsa will be one of four electric cars offered by Opel in 2020 under plans for the company to be more profitable and globalized.
By 2024, all cars made by the manufacturer will also have an electric version.
The factory in Spain, which has been making the Corsa since 1982, has manufactured about 13 million cars.
It currently has two production lines, one of which makes the Mokka X, Crossland X and Citroën C3 Aircross, and the other one will be exclusively dedicated to the Corsa.
The new development will ramp up production at the factory, according to Opel Spain’s managing director, Antonio Cobo.
Working five days a week, the plant can produce 480,000 vehicles, a figure that could exceed half a million with extra hours and a weekend shift (depending on trade union agreements), thus reaching close to 600,000 units, Cobo said.
“With the Corsa and its electric version, the idea is for the plant to reach full capacity,” said Cobo. “But the market is what dictates our employment and production levels.”