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May 04, 2005
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New Zafira goes into Production in Bochum

Photo: Opel/GM

  • Around 400 million euros invested in facilities and staff training

  • "Zero defects" principle applied to production of new compact van generation

Bochum - Series production of the new Zafira starts this week at Opel's Bochum plant. The second generation of the compact van trendsetter comes from the same production line as the Astra station wagon, which has received much praise for its quality from customers and trade experts alike. The new Zafira goes on sale on July 9. To date, Opel has invested around 400 million euros in modernizing the production facilities in the Bochum plant, further improving quality management and providing the workforce with thorough training. Plant Manager Martin Apfel is very happy with the results: "We are about to write another chapter in the Opel's compact van success story."


In order to be fully prepared for the new Zafira to go into series production, the Bochum plant has been assembling individual "pilot" vehicles for test and training purposes since September 2004. Parallel to this, 1000 units of its predecessor were coming off the production line every day. Both generations will be produced concurrently until May 24, when all orders for the previous model will be filled.

The results of recent market analysis show that Opel is on the right track with its second-generation, flexible seven-seater. And the number of new registrations in this segment continues to increase: from 1999 to 2004, the compact vans' market share of the passenger car market in Europe jumped from 2.4 to over seven percent. Forecasts predict further growth and levels of over ten percent in the year 2010.

The Bochum plant, like other GM facilities, employs the "zero defects" principle in the manufacturing process to ensure consistently high product quality. "Andon" (light signal) systems have been installed at every work station. They help to prevent defective parts from being manufactured, accepted or passed on. As a result, only vehicles completely free of defects can pass to the next work station and finally be delivered to the customer.

Every element in the Zafira meets highest demands on look and feel

The engineers and designers paid particular attention to the car's "perceived quality". Materials to be used in the new Zafira, where they should be used and the methods of joining components together were decided very carefully. Then the designers finalized the details of their work to best correspond with these specifications. Special attention was paid to central areas such as the driver-oriented cockpit and frequently used switches. Standardized test procedures were applied to make sure that each element satisfies the highest standards in terms of both looks and feel. It is only when the look and feel match to create a uniform impression that an authentic sense of quality is achieved.

(April 26, 2005)

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