With the future profitability of Opel still very much in the air, the U.K.’s CAR magazine interviewed Opel chief Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann to gauge how he plans on handling the situation, and bringing the German automaker back to black in Europe.
The interview – what with its long, meandering responses and broken English – isn’t the easiest read, but Dr. Neumann’s faith in Opel’s future basically rests on this: that as a part of General Motors, Opel has the benefit of economies of scale, and access to the GM parts bin. What remains to be done is to regain public perception following years of lackluster products, to expand into new markets, and look closely at finances.
On the subject of that last point, Dr. Neumann mentions the automaker’s flagship Bochum, Germany plant, which is closing due to overcapacity. If that’s not enough, Opel’s exporting cars badged as Holdens and Buicks ought to help thin out the maker’s production capacity.
Dr. Neumann also cited both the Mokka and the Adam as examples of entering new markets, and attracting new buyers, respectively. “[The Mokka’s] success came from entering a new segment,” said the chief. “It’s a brand ambassador because it’s getting new customers into Vauxhall/Opel stores.” Likewise, the Adam is attracting new younger, often female, buyers.
Beyond that, the quality of Opel’s current lineup has the task of speaking for itself. “We are not premium, we are in the middle of society, not cheap but affordable, something which you really want but you can also get,” said Neumann.
As for making any larger cars, the chief said that he’s often asked, but that it’s far from important for the automaker at the present. “I have more urgent product ideas than a car beyond Insignia, even though everyone says you should do a Monza or a large Opel again.”