Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Russelsheim Defeats Trollhattan
Sounds like a sports headline, no? Unfortunately, the stakes were a bit higher. Saab's factory in Trollhattan was competing with the Opel factory in Russelsheim, Germany for the "contract" to build future mid-size GM Europe products (Saab, Opel and Vauxhaul). Word came last Friday that Russelsheim was the winner. This is not totally unexpected, given that this is GM's largest European plant, in the country with the largest population, and Germany is on the euro and Sweden is not. What does this mean? As forecast now, presumably, Trollhattan will continue its current production, plus add the newly released Europe-only Cadillac BLS--which based on a 9-3 platform--until 2010, and then production would be consolidated at Russelsheim. Is Trollhattan doomed? Maybe, but maybe not. While the next 9-3, and maybe 9-5 might be built in Germany, there may be other products on the horizon that might make use of the Trollhattan facility. So many things can change, though, that everything prognosticated here, in the press and even people at GM, is entirely subject to change. What fun!

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