Gliwice, a 177,000-strong city in Lower Silesia in Poland, has a long manufacturing history. But General Motor’s (GM’s) decision to start car production there in 1998 was seen as a real feather in its cap. Now, as former GM subsidiary Opel shifts production away from the town, some fear the local economy could be hit.
“It is highly likely that employment will stay the same and the local economy won’t be unduly affected, but that depends on the actual implementation of a new Opel van-making factory in Gliwice,” Doris Hanzl-Weiss, an economist at the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW), told DW.
The decision to end Astra production in Gliwice after 23 years was made in 2019, with production probably being shifted to Germany.
But all is not lost. The Stellantis concern, to which Opel belongs, intends to start mass production of delivery vans at the factory next to the Astra assembly plant from April 2022.
“The production phase of passenger cars in the Stellantis location in Gliwice is slowly coming to an end to enable the opening of a completely new one — the production of large vans,” Andrzej Korpak, president of Opel Manufacturing Poland, said in an interview.
The Opel Movano, Peugeot Boxer, Fiat Ducato and Citroen Jumper will roll off the assembly line — in different lengths and heights. The factory will also produce electric vans — 70% of delivery vans are planned to be electric by 2025.