GM mulls moving Opel Mokka production to Spain from Korea, report says

GM mulls moving Opel Mokka production to Spain from Korea, report says

Automotive News | June 11, 2013 – 3:03 am EST

FRANKFURT (Reuters) — General Motors Co. is considering moving a large share of the current production of the Opel Mokka subcompact crossover from South Korea to Spain, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported, citing sources within the U.S. carmaker.

Opel has already said it will build the next-generation Mokka in Europe and not in Korea.

More than 100,000 Mokkas have been ordered since the European market launch in October and demand has been much better than expected, leading to production bottlenecks and long waiting lists for the model.

Producing the Mokka in Opel’s plant in Zaragoza would help to fill up that plant’s spare capacity and could lower losses at the division. The plant currently produces the Corsa subcompact and Meriva small minivan models.

A spokesman for Opel said on Monday that GM was looking for additional capacity to produce subcompact SUVs but declined to comment specifically on any plans to move production of the Mokka to the factory in Spain.

A spokesman for Opel’s sibling brand Chevrolet added that there were no plans currently to move production of the Trax, a sister of the Mokka, from Korea.

In March, Opel said it was reviewing whether other models may be built in Europe and Korea, including the Korea-made Antara medium SUV and Europe-made Agila small minivan, but added that no decisions on production locations have been made yet.

The Mokka is one of a number of new products including the Cascada mid-size convertible that Opel hopes will help attract customers and help end chronic financial losses.

Opel’s Mokka sold 5,313 units last year, according to data from the researcher JATO Dynamics.

Automotive News Europe contributed to this report

The Mokka, pictured, is Opel’s first entry in the fast-growing small SUV segment.

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