General Motors’ plant in Zaragoza (Spain) will start producing Mokka, a small sports utility vehicle (SUV) in the second half of 2014.
The combined GM and Opel/Vauxhall leadership made the joint decision because of the high demand for the vehicle in Europe. Also, additional capacity for small SUVs will be created at the plant in Bupyeong (Korea) that has been the sole source of production so far.
Opel chief executive officer Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann said: “The decision for Zaragoza follows our company's strategy of building vehicles where we sell them. The enormous demand for the Mokka underlines the attractiveness of our vehicles, adds momentum to our product offensive and secures jobs in Europe. The decision will help address the under-utilisation of available production capacity in Europe and therefore is good news for the entire organisation.”
Chairman of the European Employee Forum (EEF) Dr. Wolfgang Schäfer-Klug stated: “It is not only great news for Zaragoza but for all plants in view of the improved overall capacity utilisation. Opel/Vauxhall management has now fulfilled a long-standing request from the EEF to produce our small SUV in Europe. This is really a win-win situation for everybody in Opel/Vauxhall.”
In the first phase, US$ 80 million will be invested in Zaragoza for production. The decision to produce the Mokka in Europe will help safeguard 5,800 jobs in Opel’s Spanish plant, which is currently producing Corsa and Meriva.
Since the launch of the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka in summer 2012, the vehicle has proved popular; Mokka is among the three best-selling SUVs in several European markets.
Although initial European production will rely on CKD-kits using parts from Korea, local sourcing will increase gradually.
“This is another great day for Opel/Vauxhall,” claimed Neumann. “After the recent decision of GM to invest €4 billion in its European operations and an additional commitment to invest €230 million in the Development Centre in Rüsselsheim, Germany, this is further proof that we are on the right path. With this investment, we will be able to produce more Mokkas and to more quickly serve our customers.” ∎
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