Very Special Anniversary: 30 Years Opel from Eisenach
- Start in 1990: Opel Vectra A first model produced in Eisenach
- German unity: Major investments in the site
- Good utilization: Sustainable future thanks to production of Opel Grandland X
- Remarkable figure: More than 3.5 million vehicles produced in Eisenach until today
Eisenach/Rüsselsheim. 30 years of German reunification and 30 years of Opel from Eisenach – there is reason to celebrate this October. German Chancellor Helmut Kohl drove the first Opel from Eisenach – an Opel Vectra 1.6i – off the assembly line on October 5, 1990. Opel was thus one of the first companies to commit to creating new, promising jobs in East Germany. For almost two years, around 200 employees produced 10,000 units of the successful mid-range model annually in a former production hall of the Eisenach automobile factory (AWE). At the same time, Opel started developing the current plant which was officially inaugurated in 1992. So far, more than 3.5 million vehicles have been produced and some €1.5 billion invested in this plant.
“We are very proud of our team in Eisenach and the excellent work that has been done here for 30 years,” said Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller. “Opel was the first German carmaker to commit significant investments to the site directly after the reunification of the country and thus played in important part in German unity. So far, more than 3.5 Million cars in outstanding Eisenach quality have left the production line and our plant in Thuringia plays a key role in the transformation of the automotive industry. The electrified versions of the Grandland X are impressive proof of this.”
From day one, Opel has consistently implemented a new production system in Eisenach. Planned according to the principles of lean manufacturing and equipped with the most modern systems, the Thuringian location works with particularly high productivity and quality. Extensive modernization work was carried out at the plant last year to enable the localization of Groupe PSA's EMP2 platform. Almost no stone was left unturned. Among other things, the “marriage” - the connection between chassis and bodywork - has been completely modernized and a more efficient and environmentally friendly painting process has been introduced.
The extensive refurbishment work and the production of the Opel Grandland X not only ensure a sustainable future for the plant. They are also an important pillar in Opel's electrification offensive. The successful SUV – whether as a plug-in hybrid or with a classic combustion engine – rolls off the assembly line in Eisenach.
Overview of all Opel models made in Eisenach:
- Opel Vectra A from 1990 to 1992
- Opel Astra F from 1992 to 1995
- Opel Corsa B from 1993 to 2000
- Opel Astra G from 1998 to 2003
- Opel Corsa C from 2000 to 2006
- Opel Corsa D from 2006 to 2014
- Opel ADAM from 2013 to 2019
- Opel ADAM Rocks from 2014 to 2019
- Opel Corsa E from 2014 to 2019
- Opel ADAM S from 2015 to 2019
- Opel Grandland X since 2019
- Opel Grandland X PHEV since 2020
Everything started with a democratic decision in 1990
It is thanks to the founding fathers Wolfram Liedtke and Louis R. Hughes that there was even an Opel plant in Eisenach. The managing director of the Eisenach automobile factory (AWE) Liedtke and the then Opel CEO Hughes are the ones who advocate the location despite resolute resistance. Because actually the GDR automobile combine has other plans for the AWE. However, since it has been unclear for a long time what these plans will look like and thus the future of the people in Eisenach is uncertain, Opel present a convincing concept. Liedtke then manages to leave the combine and to find his own way for Eisenach.
The workforce fully supports Liedtke and resolutely stands up for their plant and their future. At an all employee meeting in 1990, decisions are made democratically. Opel board member Hughes makes a special trip and answers all questions from the employees, who then vote in favour of Opel’s commitment by a large majority.
Then everything happens really fast, always under the motto “Opel banks on Eisenach”. With the new Opel production system, the company is the first European manufacturer to introduce entirely new production methods in Eisenach. There are five fundamental principles: the involvement of employees, continuous improvement, quality assurance from the start, standardization and short lead times thanks to perfectly organized logistics.
Opel in Eisenach has also set the highest standards in the area of environmental management from the start. Recycling cycles for the reuse of production residues or a modern water treatment plant that meets the highest demands are just two examples of the sustainable system.