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The new press plant will produce body parts for the new Astra, which will be produced in Antwerp from 2004. An immediate start is being made on the new building, which will double the area of the current press space and will process some 80,000 tons of steel a year in comparison with the present 50,000 tons.
Two-thirds of the production will be used by the assembly line in Antwerp while the remainder will be shipped to Opel Astra plants at Bochum in Germany and Ellesmere Port in the UK.
Eddy Geysen, Managing Director of Opel Belgium, said that the high quality achieved by the existing plant, plus the flexibility of the workforce played an important role in securing the facility. The Antwerp press plant, he said, had been described as the best-performing in Europe.
General Motors has a long history in Antwerp that dates back to the 1920s.