Ruesselsheim/Detroit. GM announced today that it will invest 230 Million Euros for new testing facilities into its European Product Development Center at the Opel headquarters in Ruesselsheim and at the proving ground in Dudenhofen. The investment will be executed in the next three to four years. It only comes two weeks after GM’s Board of Directors visit of the European Opel/Vauxhall operations and a commitment to invest 4 billion Euros for future product between 2013 and 2016.
The announcement is a further step in GM’s efforts to strengthen its European brand Opel/Vauxhall and – at the same time - GM’s global product development resources by enhancing the company’s overall flexibility, speed and efficiency and investing in to global common tools and equipment. Moreover the investment is a key enabler for Opel/Vauxhall in the development of next generation engines and compliance with European and global emission regulations. The investment also includes a new fuel station, audio lab and safety analysis building.
“This significant investment will last for decades and it will secure the future of the European Product Development Center” said Opel CEO and President GM Europe Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann. “The development done at Ruesselsheim will be on engines and transmissions for Europe and the rest of the world. This move will give us global responsibility in engine development”, added Dr. Neumann.
New dynamometers for engines will replace older equipment to allow for development of the following generation of powertrains for 2020 and beyond. More than that, flexible test cells to enable improved operational efficiencies will be implemented. This state-of-the-art-lab will then be linked to GM’s powertrain facilities in Pontiac and Torino.
As part of the investment, the proving grounds at Dudenhofen will also gain new capabilities, with a soak area, new workshop and vehicle dynamometers for important ultra-low emission testing. This globally common GM-equipment will also allow similar test procedures and comparable data.
On top of that the management board and the works council earlier this week have agreed to more flexible working conditions at the European Product Development Center in Ruesselsheim with more than 6,000 highly qualified employees. This accord is based on the Master Agreement from March 28, 2013.
The investment into Opel’s design, vehicle engineering, powertrain operations and human resources further demonstrates GM’s commitment to enhance the local capability to position Opel and its sister-brand Vauxhall for long-term competitiveness and success.
With the additional technical resources and improvements, Opel and Vauxhall will continue to play an important role in designing, engineering and building new vehicles and powertrains for its own brands as well as other players in GM’s product portfolio.
The investment is still subject to the approval of the Opel Supervisory Board.