PSA Groupe, Opel and Vauxhall’s new owner, implemented a drastic voluntary redundancy program for the entire Opel brand last March. Following a reported wave of departures, the automaker has suspended the program.
Reuters reported on Friday that top executives fear the departures could leave Opel without enough skilled workers. Opel’s management and the company’s works council agreed to suspend the program until both entities could discuss the program’s effects at the end of May.
PSA Groupe has plans for major cost cuts at Opel to help the German brand turn a profit in only a few years. According to the report, the French automaker wants to cut 3,700 staff by 2020. Opel hasn’t turned a profit since 1999.
Opel denied comments of a “mass exodus” from the brand in recent weeks, but executives and engineers told a different story. While Opel stated it had received 1,000 requests in the redundancy program (of 19,000 workers), an unnamed engineer told Reuters he or she “was at farewells every day.”
On the talent front, prominent engineers have jumped ship for rival automakers and suppliers. Opel has lost its Insignia chief engineer to Veritas AG; Opel’s chief vehicle engineer moved to BMW; Opel’s former director of electrified vehicles found employment with Jaguar-Land Rover.
Senior staff has reportedly jumped at the chance to exit the company thanks to “speed bonuses,” which rewarded quick exits from the company.