Opel Builds Center for Engines of the Future
- Automaker investing 210 million euros in Rüsselsheim
- State-of-the-art facilities to develop and test clean engines
- 43 modern performance test benches available by 2017
- Hesse’s Minister for Economic Affairs Tarek Al-Wazir at groundbreaking ceremony
Rüsselsheim. Opel starts major construction project at its Rüsselsheim headquarters: The company continues its investment offensive, allocating 210 million euros to the construction of a complex of buildings – the tallest seven stories high – on the south-west sector of the International Technical Development Center (ITDC) premises. On a total building surface area of around 36,000 square meters, from 2017 engineers and technicians will develop the powertrains of the future. The new center will also house 43 newest-generation performance test benches.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the major project took place on Monday. Manning the shovels were CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, Head of Opel Works Council Dr. Wolfgang Schäfer-Klug, Vice President of the GM Powertrain Division Steven Kiefer and two high-ranking political guests: Hesse’s Minister for Economic Affairs Tarek Al-Wazir and Rüsselsheim’s mayor Patrick Burghardt.
“With this investment we very clearly show: Opel is back. Opel is on the attack,” said Karl-Thomas Neumann. “Our model offensive is in full swing – and engines are a very important part of this offensive.”
The construction project is part of the investment announced last year that earmarks 230 million euros for new testing and engineering facilities at the ITDC and at the Test Center Rodgau-Dudenhofen. The lion’s share of that, 210 million euros, is being invested in the Rüsselsheim site. The complex will cover an area of around 13,000 square meters south of the railroad tracks and west of Portal 45 in Rüsselsheim, parallel to the Rugbyring. This is the largest building investment in Rüsselsheim since the opening of the new production plant in 2002.
The site is embedded in the engineering network of the GM Powertrain Organization. Due to internationally synchronized test methods and software, findings can be optimally analyzed and implemented. Steven Kiefer, Head of GM Powertrain, said, “For us, Rüsselsheim is the center for the development of small and mid-size gasoline engines. We rely on internationally-networked German engineering and with the construction of this new site, we create optimum working conditions for our experts.” Kiefer continued, “Important new engine generations will be created in Rüsselsheim, including their applications for all markets where GM is present. The new facilities meet globally uniform technical standards and increase the flexibility, development speed and efficiency of the entire group.”
A new building as symbol for the engine offensive
The construction project in Rüsselsheim is a visible sign of the Opel engine offensive. To 2018, Opel will introduce 27 new models and 17 new, economical engines to the market. With the refreshed product portfolio, market share in Europe is to be substantially increased to 8 percent by 2022. Board Member for Engineering Michael Ableson, said, “We are looking at the whole diverse variety of future propulsion technologies that are more economical and environmentally friendly. The combustion engine maintains an important role, as it still has a lot of potential. As one of the pioneers of clean propulsion, it is Opel’s goal to not only undercut the future stringent CO2 barriers, but to also ensure driving fun and best performance at the same time.”
Head of Works Council Schäfer-Klug said: “As employee representatives, from the very beginning we advocated investment in, preservation and expansion of engineering jobs. So I am delighted that we are laying this foundation stone today. It is more proof of growth and job security at Opel.”
Hesse’s Minister of Economic Affairs Tarek Al-Wazir praised Opel‘s commitment to the region: “I am sure that fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of engines will always be important to customers. Therefore the new development center for efficient engines is a smart, climate-friendly investment. I am pleased that Opel invests a three-figure million amount in these future technologies here in the Rhine-Main area”.
And Rüsselheim’s mayor Patrick Burghardt also sees the engine building complex as a sign of a new start for the city: “A new site of this size has not been built here in a long time. Rüsselsheim and Opel – this is not only a long, rich tradition, it is also a clear prospect for the future.”