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Opel starts €130 mln expansion at Szentgotthárd engine plant

German carmaker Opel started a €130m expansion at its Flex engine plant in Szentgotthárd on Tuesday. The expansion, announced by Opel Vice President Joachim Koschnicke and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in February, will add another 1,600sqm of production space at the base, creating more than 100 jobs, the company said in a statement. The expansion is scheduled to be completed by the beginning of 2014, with trial runs beginning next April. Opel decided on the expansion because it expects demand for engines no bigger than 1.4 litres to rise. The plant will start manufacturing these engines next year. The Flex engine plant, put into operation last September with an initial investment of €500m, started serial production of medium category 1.6-litre petrol engines in February, and will produce 1.6-litre diesel engines soon. The expansion will raise the plant's production to almost 600,000 engines a year, and will employ nearly 1,500. Including the latest expansion, Opel has invested €1.4 billion in Szentgotthárd since 1990.