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Jubilee in Thuringian plant: 30 years of “Opel in Eisenach”

After reunification: Opel one of the first carmakers in the new federal states

Thirty years ago, Opel opened a plant in Eisenach that stands for the most modern production conditions and the highest quality. Since then, many Opel bestsellers from the Astra to the Corsa to the ADAM have left the Thuringian factory. Today, the brand’s top SUV model, the Opel Grandland, rolls off the assembly line; electrified as a plug-in hybrid with highly efficient combustion engines. 30 years of Opel in Eisenach means 30 years of pioneering spirit and automobile production in one of the most modern plants in Europe. On Saturday, September 17, Opel is inviting all families and friends of the brand to an open day, and the official ceremony that takes place beforehand will be attended by the Thuringian Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow and Opel CEO Florian Huettl.

“Eisenach has stood for the finest quality for 30 years. At this traditional automobile production site, employees have manufactured numerous Opel bestsellers for delivery to customers. With the production of the Opel Grandland and the Grandland plug-in hybrid on an advanced Multi-Energy Platform, Eisenach is an important part of our electrification offensive,” says Opel CEO Florian Huettl.

“For more than 30 years, our team spirit has driven us to top performance time and time again,” explains Plant Manager Jörg Escher. “Since opening in 1992, the plant and the employees have repeatedly set standards with innovative spirit and drive, even in economically challenging times. This solidarity continues to distinguish us. For Opel and above all for our customers.”

Opel among the first West German carmakers in the new federal states

On September 23, 1992, with former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and the employees in attendance, the first ever Opel Astra “made in Eisenach” drove off the production line. The plant soon became one of the most modern in the world in terms of environmental sustainability, manufacturing technology and production systems. And it is also an integral part of the city and the region.

Only eight months after start of production of the Astra, the first Corsa drove off the production line in 1993. The first Corsa “made in Eisenach” is also the first ever Corsa “made in Germany”. Previously, it had only been built in the Spanish plant in Zaragoza. In 2012, the small car welcomed a brother to its home – the stylish Opel ADAM, which was produced in Eisenach until May 2019. €190 million had been invested in the plant for its production.

After reunification, Opel is one of the first West German carmakers to commit itself to the new federal states. Simultaneously the company laid the foundations for the revitalization of automotive production in the region by opening the new plant and investing more than one billion Deutsch Mark. Furthermore, Opel also created numerous new jobs, also within the supplier industry.

The company is the first European manufacturer to introduce completely new manufacturing methods when the new Opel production system was implemented. It is based on five guided principles: employee involvement, continuous improvement, quality control from the start, standardization and short throughput times thanks to smooth logistics.

The Opel plant in Eisenach has also been setting standard in environmental management since its opening. Recycling loops to re-use production residues or a state-of-the-art water retreatment plant are just two examples of the sustainable system.

During all these years, the Eisenach plant “reinvented” itself again and again. The small-car bestseller Opel Corsa was manufactured here until 2019, but now the employees at the plant produce the current top Opel SUV – the Grandland, which is also the first electrified Blitz model from Eisenach.

A glimpse behind the scenes

On Saturday, September 17, a ceremony with Thuringia’s Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow and Opel CEO Florian Huettl will open the anniversary celebrations for “30 years of Opel Eisenach”. At the open day between 10.00 and 15.00 CET, visitors will have the opportunity to learn something about the eventful history of the plant up close. In the three production areas they will receive interesting information about the production of the Opel Grandland. Outside the halls, all the models previously manufactured in Eisenach will be presented, plus many other highlights from Opel’s 160-year history.


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