Opel chief executive Karl-Friedrich Stracke told German newspaper Handelsblatt that the division plans to sell an additional 30,000 cars a year in China — a six-fold increase over the approximately 5,000 units sold by the brand in 2011. The move is part of a strategy meant to offset the contraction of Opel’s home market in Europe.
In addition, Opel plans to grow in other markets including Russia, Turkey, and Australia. Russia is the second-largest vehicle market in Europe that’s expected to continue expanding through at least 2014.
In that regard, Stracke sees Opel’s newest vehicle — the Astra sedan — as a vital aspect of the brand’s “product offensive” that plays a role in its growth strategy. “It is a stylish, more affordable alternative to many four-door sedans in the mid-size segment, therefore we see significant conquest potential in Western Europe. It will also play a leading role in substantially increasing our market share in key growth markets such as Russia and Turkey, where there is strong customer demand for compact cars with a separate luggage compartment”, said Stracke in a press release.
The GM Authority Take
Financial and accounting matters aside, Opel needs all the volume it can get — and if expanding outside the traditional markets is what it takes, then so be it. The brand’s internationalization, if you will, makes even more sense given that Chevy is now GM’s truly global mainstream brand, which makes the possible decision to move Opel upmarket into the luxury space, where it would perhaps be aligned with Buick, that much more sound.