Opel to invest 1 billion euros into next-generation Astra production

Ruesselsheim. Opel plans to invest more than 1 billion euros during the next two year to improve the European factories it will use to produce the next-generation Astra.

At least 500 million euros will go to Opel's plant in Antwerp, Belgium.

Opel wants to manufacture approximately 360,000 Astras in Europe in 2004 and hopes to make 500,000 units in 2005, according to internal plans.

Antwerp will be the primary producer of the Astra. In 2004 approximately 205,000 units of the lower-medium car are scheduled to be built in Antwerp - 180,000 five-door versions and 25,000 Caravans.

In 2005, production will increase to 255,000 units.

Antwerp will manufacture all Astra versions except the Zafira.

Production of the five-door version starts January 4. The Caravan will start being built in August. A sporty three-door version will go into production in early 2005.

Approximately 120,000 Astra five-door versions will be built at Opel's plant in Ellesmere Port, UK, in 2004. Production starts in March. In 2005, Opel expects to build up to 165,000 units at the plant.

The first production of the Astra at a German-based plant will start in August 2004. Approximately 35,000 station wagons will be built at the Bochum plant in 2004 and about 80,000 in 2005, according to unofficial plans.

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