ANTWERP – General Motors Corp. is seeking a 27% reduction in the number of hours it takes to build a vehicle at its Opel Astra plant here. By the time production of the next-generation Astra begins in 2008, the auto maker expects an hours-per-vehicle (HPV) rate of 16, down from the current 22, says Kurt Lievens, a production supervisor. Asked which competitive plants Antwerp is targeting, Lievens says: “We are mostly benchmarking ourselves.” Despite a “constant and relentless drive ...

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