Production has started on the new Opel Corsa Combo in Portugal.
It is 30 years since the birth of the Bedford truck and now the only Opel factory operating on Portuguese soil has been fully renewed for the exclusive construction of the new Corsa Combo.
Last month, the Portuguese prime minister, Antonio Guterres, witnessed the launch of the plant after a sizable investment in the facilities that will allow production of GM's new light commercial vehicle.
The investment of €130 million, Opel's biggest in Portugal, has transformed the factory into a state-of-the-art production site.
A combination of software, hardware and labour investment has made it possible for the Azambuja factory to hold two of the most demanding quality and environment certifications: ISO 9002, and ISO 14001 (valid in EU from 2004).
The Azambuja site is still working on two shifts but has now been upgraded to produce 19 finished cars an hour (ultimately 70,000 a year), compared to the previous 15 an hour.
A total of 95% of Corsa Combos are exported to the European market - 318,000 units sold in Europe in 1994 against 639,000 last year - with the United Kingdom (as Vauxhall), Germany and southern Europe as the biggest markets, out of 52 countries in the five continents. (October 2001)