FRANKFURT: Peugeot subsidiary Opel said on Tuesday it will offer 2,100 more German workers voluntary redundancies, as it struggles to stay afloat faced with collapsing demand and an EU emissions squeeze.
“The voluntary leave program will be reopened for employees ... limited to a maximum of 2,100 positions,” the company said in a statement.
But it added that forced redundancies would be ruled out until at least 2025.
Meanwhile Opel’s main Ruesselsheim plant will be outfitted to produce the next generation Astra sedan in both internal combustion and hybrid versions — “providing the perspective for many years of manufacturing.”
“This agreement creates a further considerable improvement of our competitiveness” and “gives our employees long-term security,” CEO Michael Lohscheller said.
The historic German carmaker, which Peugeot bought from US-based General Motors in 2017, had already slashed almost 7,000 out of 19,000 jobs since the takeover, as the industry grapples with lower global demand.
But rather than sales challenges, Opel highlighted “ever-stricter CO2 regulations that the entire automotive industry is facing” as the main reason for Tuesday’s move.
From this year, manufacturers in the EU must reach average CO2 emissions across their new vehicle fleets of below 95 grams per kilometer, on pain of harsh fines.
After years of losses under GM, Opel returned to the black under its new owner in 2018, selling around a million vehicles.