What to Do In an R&D Overcapacity Situation
Moving R&D staff from Opel to SEGULA Technologies in a seemingly seamless manner. (Image: Groupe PSA)
Although when there are layoffs of production workers it tends to garner plenty of attention, but there are others who are potentially at risk given changes in the overall automotive landscape, people who aren’t necessarily thought of all that often: people who are involved in R&D. Clearly in an industry where there are burgeoning demands on the development of new technologies people in this field are valuable. . .but then there are issues associated with their employers being able to keep them on staff due to things like market uncertainties and overhead costs.
Which brings us to Rüsselsheim, Germany, the long-time location of the Opel R&D center. PSA Groupe—which acquired Opel from General Motors in late 2017—announced last week that due to both a decline in orders and overcapacities in the Rüsselsheim R&D center, approximately 700 Opel employees are moving to a new employer, SEGULA Technologies, which works with a number of industries beyond automotive (e.g., aerospace, defense, energy, oil and gas) on “large-scale projects, ranging from studies to industrialization and production.”
SEGULA Technologies will take over buildings and facilities in Rüsselsheim and create an engineering campus along with Opel.
According to Christian Müller, Managing Director, Engineering, Opel Automobile GmbH, “With this strategic partnership, we are setting up our R&D center in a sustainable and competitive manner while simultaneously strengthening engineering activities in the Rüsselsheim area. We have found responsible solutions for the overcapacities, which will not cause any disadvantages for the employees concerned.”
According to the two companies, salary, company pension, employment protection, working hours and all other components will stay the same for the employees who have made the transition.
While the people will be undoubtedly working on the development of new Opel and Vauxhall vehicles and propulsion systems with their former colleagues directly employed by PSA, odds are good that given SEGULA Technologies’ breadth of industries served, these R&D experts are likely to find themselves working on things that don’t necessarily have four wheels.
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