Zurich. Carl-Peter Forster, president of General Motors Europe, wants to drastically slim manufacturing in Europe by outsourcing more components.
Forster's goal is to shorten assembly times for GM's top-three models in Europe by 30 to 40 percent.
According to an internal study obtained by Automobilwoche, plans call for 13 hours of production for the Corsa small car, 15 hours for the lower-medium Astra and 17 hours for the upper-medium Vectra.
That would make Opel one of the most productive manufacturers in the industry. Across Europe, it takes an average of 25 hours to assemble a vehicle.
Opel wants to meet this goal for its next generation of models. For reach that goal, Forster is planning on outsourcing components.
"As much as possible we want to focus on our core business, to improve our cost structures significantly and return to profitability for the long-term," said Eric Stevens, GM's production chief in Europe.
Opel has begun looking for external operators for the logistics and transportation department, radiator pre-assembly, final engine upgrade and axle assembly.
Stevens said GM will continue to emphasize efficiency in final assembly, press work, body shell construction and painting. GM's Bochum, Germany, plant is serving as a "pioneer" of the progress, he said.
Opel employees are battling Forster's outsourcing plans.
"We are planning a counter-offensive under the slogan, 'Better, not cheaper,' " Opel works council chief Klaus Franz said.
Franz said Opel's strategic logistical advantages within Germany should be exploited, even to the point of bringing already awarded, external contracts back to Opel factories.
You may e-mail Harald Hamprecht at [email protected]