According to an official statement from GM’s China branch, GM’s Opel brand will not be making its way to China. The statement comes as a contradiction to several reports in 2010 and earlier in 2011, which state that the German brand will expand to markets outside Europe, including Australia, Latin America, and China.
Additionally, the statement is in stark contrast to several German media outlets reporting that Opel was planning on establishing a manufacturing plant in China with a capacity of 30,000 to 40,000 units per annum.
The GM Authority Take
This is more confusing than calculating the United States’ GDP while factoring in inflationary probabilities and credit worthiness (unfortunately, I’ve done both before). On a more serious note, it’s no secret that the Chinese automotive market is red hot — so it would only make sense for Opel to seek expansionary opportunities in the market.
And that sounds great, until we happen on the fact that most of Opel’s vehicles are already sold in China under the Buick nameplate. In fact, that’s what was so confusing to us back in March of last year, when we discovered Buicks selling alongside a trial sales run of Opel models in the land of the Red Dragon. For instance, the Opel Insignia is identical to the Buick Regal and the Excelle line is simply the Astra.
Then there’s also the possibility that GM and SAIC, The General’s joint venture partner in China, have a legal arrangement that prevents Opel vehicles from being brought into the country. Even then, there’s no reason to revisit the badge engineering days (that GM is too well-known for) by selling Opels and
nearly-identical Buicks in the same market.
Finally, the fact that the product portfolios of Buick and Opel are expected to merge (in all but name, of course) in the near future proves to us that the co-existence of the two brands in a single region won’t happen… at least in the foreseeable future (or until the actual brands are merged, which we expect to occur in precisely a googillion decades).
We can’t imagine this sitting all too well with Opel executives or employees… but how do you feel about Opel, Buick, and their availability in a single country (like China)? The comments are awaiting your input!
Update: Gasgoo was mistaken. Opel will be making its way to China, but it won’t be manufactured in the Land of the Red Dragon. Read more here.