Rüsselsheim Research and Development Center Plays Key Role in Groupe PSA Global Engineering Network | Media OPEL International

Rüsselsheim Research and Development Center Plays Key Role in Groupe PSA Global Engineering Network


Rüsselsheim TechDay
  • Top Groupe PSA technologies meet the art of German engineering
  • New Opel models based on two modular multi-energy platforms
  • Platforms allow an individual layout according to the independent identity of each brand
  • Electrification of product portfolio is at the core of PACE! strategic plan
  • Responsibility for development of Groupe PSA light commercial vehicles and next generation four-cylinder petrol engines
  • 15 Centers of Competence in Rüsselsheim – from hydrogen fuel cells to seat development


Rüsselsheim.  With Peugeot, Citroën, DS Automobiles, Opel and Vauxhall all under the roof of Groupe PSA, a European champion has been created. The group is now pooling its strengths, creating synergies and releasing the full potential of its brands. In the process, state-of-the-art Groupe PSA technologies meet the art of German engineering. Together, this results in a new level of quality. Groupe PSA thus harbours ambitious goals, such as leadership in the reduction of CO2 emissions.

The Engineering Center in Rüsselsheim takes on an important role within Group PSA. It brings typical Opel strengths to the global development network, including experience in sporty chassis designed for high speeds on the German “Autobahn”, US market federalisation and ergonomic seats certified by “Aktion Gesunder Rücken”. Opel is a tradition-rich German brand, which has always democratised cutting-edge technologies. For Opel, the Engineering Center in Rüsselsheim guarantees the combination of German engineering, precision and innovations that customers can afford.

“We want to build first-class automobiles and also excite our customers through compelling quality,” said Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller. “As we announced at the presentation of our PACE! strategic plan in November 2017, we will develop all new Opel/Vauxhall vehicles in Rüsselsheim in future. Furthermore, the Engineering Center will play a key role in the implementation of Groupe PSA’s growth strategy.”

Modular multi-energy platforms: For efficient variety of models

Currently the keyword in the automobile business is efficiency. In order to manufacture efficient, economic and climate-friendly cars, the base design is key. This is why all passenger cars and most light commercial vehicles (LCVs) of Groupe PSA are currently derived from two multi-energy modular platforms – the Common Modular Platform (CMP) and the Efficient Modular Platform (EMP2). A modular platform consists primarily of the floor assembly, the chassis and various powertrains, as well as the base electric/electronic architecture. The platform is therefore the decisive factor for cost-efficient automobile manufacturing and represents 60 per cent of the material costs. The Groupe PSA platforms are complemented with modules for engines, seats, restraints, cockpits and infotainment systems that can be used in various carlines.

“Thanks to the jointly used platforms, we will – depending on the programmes – save between 20 per cent and 50 per cent of the development costs of every new Opel/Vauxhall model compared to its predecessor,” said Lohscheller.

Different variants for various segments and international markets can be developed on these modular platforms: four and five-door sedans and hatchbacks, station wagons, vans, sport utility vehicles (SUV), convertibles and coupés are possible. The Groupe PSA platform dedicated to vehicles in the B and C segments is called CMP. The new Corsa, which will make its world premiere next year, is currently being developed on this very compact platform. The Grandland X SUV and the family-friendly Combo Life leisure activity vehicle (LAV) are based on the EMP2 – which is used for the passenger car C and D segments.

In addition, EMP2 also provides each individual Groupe PSA brand with the option of personalising each car to perfectly match the respective brand character. This flexibility ensures that an Opel model is distinctively different to the Peugeot, Citroën or DS Automobiles model based on the same platform. “Hardware, software, the choice of modules, different set-ups, calibration – all this helps us create a brand-specific character for each and every car. It also permits us to safeguard and further develop the Opel DNA and make sure that an Opel drives like an Opel,” said Christian Müller, Managing Director Engineering.

State-of-the-art powertrains for lowest CO2 emissions

Opel goes electric. The electrification of the Opel product portfolio is at the core of the PACE! strategic plan. One of the main goals of this plan is to meet the 95-gramme CO2 limit of the EU by 2020. Groupe PSA is looking to take over a leading role on low CO2 emissions – not only because it has been mandated by the authorities but also because the customers expect it. The Opel model range is therefore quickly transitioning to the efficient, flexible and electrified platforms of the Groupe PSA. By 2024, all Opel/Vauxhall passenger cars will be based on these so-called multi-energy platforms. The new CMP is the basis both for conventional propulsion systems as well as for a generation of electric vehicles (from urban to SUV). In addition, EMP2 is the basis for the next generation of plug-in hybrid vehicles (SUV, CUV, mid-range and high-end vehicles). These platforms enable a flexible adaptation to the development of the powertrain mix according to future market demands.

Opel will already have four electrified model lines on the market by 2020, including the Ampera-e, the Grandland X as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and the next Corsa generation with a battery electric variant. Moving forward, all European passenger car lines will be electrified, either with a battery electric or plug-in hybrid variant, alongside models powered by highly efficient combustion engines. Opel/Vauxhall will thus become a leader in emissions reduction and be a fully electrified European passenger car brand by 2024. The electrification of the light commercial vehicle portfolio will begin in 2020 to meet customer needs and future requirements of urban areas.

The engineering team in Rüsselsheim is currently making a major contribution to the development of the electric version of the new Corsa generation, a battery-powered variant. Opel can draw on a wealth of experience with its two electric cars Ampera (premiere Geneva Motor Show 2009) and Ampera-e (Paris 2016). The Opel Ampera-e fully suitable for everyday use set standards with its range of up to 520 kilometres according to the New European Driving Cycle. Be it hardware, software, battery-pack or manufacturing, Rüsselsheim’s expertise in all these areas is highly valued by Groupe PSA. The new Corsa, including the electric variant, will be built in the Spanish plant in Zaragoza.

Research & development for the entire Groupe PSA in Rüsselsheim

The Opel Engineering Center is taking over a key role within Groupe PSA. It brings typical Opel strengths to the company’s global research and development networks. Amongst others, this includes the experience with sporty chassis designed for the high speeds permitted on the German “Autobahn” along with US market federalisation and the AGR-certified (Aktion Gesunder Rücken e.V.) ergonomic seats. The Rüsselsheim Engineering Center will continue to ensure the connection between German engineering, precision and affordable innovations for the Opel brand. As already announced during the presentation of the PACE! plan on November 9, 2017, all new Opel/Vauxhall vehicles will be developed in Rüsselsheim. At the same time, the Rüsselsheim Engineering Center shows that it will play an integral part in supporting Groupe PSA’s growth strategy.

The engineering team in Rüsselsheim also leads the development of Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) of Groupe PSA that are built on a dedicated LCV platform. This global responsibility includes the development of an LCV platform and modules from advanced development to production maturity. The development priorities also include the networking and electrification of light commercial vehicles along with automated driving. Leading the development in Rüsselsheim is a key component of the Opel/Vauxhall LCV offensive. The all-new Combo is already making its debut this year, the next generation Vivaro will follow in 2019.

Moreover, the Rüsselsheim Engineering Center will take on the global responsibility for the development of the next generation of high-efficiency petrol engines for all Groupe PSA brands. The next generation of four-cylinder engines will be optimised for operation in combination with electric motors and will be used in the drive train of hybrid systems. Market introduction will begin in 2022. The new generation of engines is designated for use in all Groupe PSA brands in China, Europe and North America, meeting the future emissions standards of these markets. The power units feature state-of-the-art technologies such as direct injection, turbocharging and variable valve control. The engines are thus highly efficient and will deliver low fuel consumption and low CO2 values.

Another focal point is the continuous advancement of all existing models along with the development of future vehicles and powertrains. For example, this includes the refinement of the Small Gasoline Engine (SGE) and the Mid-size Diesel Engine (MDE) families that are available in the Opel Astra and Opel Insignia and ensuring that these units meet the applicable emissions standards.

Furthermore, Groupe PSA has currently established 15 Centers of Competence in Rüsselsheim. The development teams from France and Germany defined development areas (R&D) within a short period of time in order to unleash the full potential for the entire group. The abilities of the various competence teams complement each other in a global network – to the benefit of all five group brands (Opel, Vauxhall, Peugeot, Citroën and DS Automobiles). These so-called Centers of Competence enable universal technical standards and optimal realisation within Groupe PSA around the globe.

Opel is now playing to some of the typical company strengths within Groupe PSA. Outstanding seats and sharp shifting of manual transmissions, for example, are just two of the fundamental virtues of every Opel/Vauxhall model. Furthermore, the Opel engineers have extensive experience in fuel cell development and in the area of test automation. They will also bring a wealth of knowledge in US market federalisation to the table and make this available to Groupe PSA. In total, 15 of these dedicated areas have now been brought together in the Centers of Competence to date:

Future technologies:

  • Hydrogen & fuel cells
  • Alternative fuels


Vehicle development:

  • Seats
  • ADAS: parking, active safety, danger alert
  • Restraint systems
  • Manual transmission systems
  • Geometry, dimensions and tolerances
  • Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC)
  • Vehicle fuel function
  • Vehicle material engineering (for many areas)
  • US market federalisation (vehicle and powertrain)



  • Test automation
  • Software industrialisation
  • Automation of quality checks
  • 3D print of assembly tools


Further information about official fuel consumption, official specific CO2 emissions and consumption of electric energy can be found in the “guideline about fuel consumption, CO2 Emissions and electric energy consumption of new passenger cars” ('Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO2-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch neuer Personenkraftwagen') in German language, which is available free of charge at any point of sales and at DAT Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH, Helmuth-Hirth-Straße 1, D-73760 Ostfildern.



Jean-Philippe Kempf
Director Opel Product Communications
Tel.: +49 6142/7-66 651
Mobile: +49 160 90 60 89 56

Martin Golka
Group Manager International Product Communications
Tel.: +49 6142/7–55 215
Mobile: +49 151 17 47 39 54

Christopher Rux
Technology Communications
Tel.: +49 6142/7-73 589
Mobile: +49 1516/2-81 4296