As part of its ongoing turnaround strategy, Opel has identified Israel as a market that presents an opportunity to export and sell its cars. And one of the ways in which GM’s European subsidiary is planning on marketing its vehicles in the country is by having members of the Knesset — Israel’s parliament — drive them.
Just recently, Opel has won the open bidding process of the Knesset to be its vehicle fleet supplier, and 50 of the 120 members now have an Insignia as their official car for business travel — with the first 25 cars having just been delivered to parliament representatives in Jerusalem by a group of Opel employees.
“The Israeli market has an important role in our export offensive. The fact that we were able to win over parliament members, a group of important opinion leaders, is impressive confirmation of the success of our brand in Israel,” said Opel Director International Operations Jürgen Keller as the vehicles were delivered “This clearly shows that Opel continues strengthening its successful position in Israel”, he added.
Opel vehicles are currently imported into Israel by the Shlomo Group — Israel’s exclusive Opel importer. The GM subsidiary states that Shlomo currently has eight Opel sales centers and 14 service stations, with the latest sales outlet having opened on April 15, 2013. In 2012, roughly 5,000 new Opels were sold in Israel.
Currently, the following Opels are available for sale in Israel:
- Corsa 5-door
- Astra: 5-door, GTC (3-door), sedan
- Insignia: sedan, 5-door hatchback, Sport Tourer (wagon)
- New Zafira
The GM Authority Take
By enlisting the services of an importer and distributor, it seems that Opel is playing it safe with its newfound sales efforts in Israel… but it could also be a matter of cost-effectiveness — with an importer perhaps being more financially attractive than setting up full-fledged operations in the country. What’s more intriguing to us is whether the members of the Knesset actually paid for their Insignias — or if the automaker provided the vehicles free of charge — as a form of free marketing.
We’ve reached out to Opel for clarification, and will update this page as soon as we hear back.