Opel CEO Stracke Is Not Patient When It Comes To Market Share10
According to Opel CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke, the legendary German brand is ahead of its set-out market share goals for 2011.
In Germany, Opel is looking to achieve a 10 percent market share compared to 7.6 percent in 2010. That’s a huge drop compared to the early 1970s, when Opel was responsible for an exemplary portion of the market (in the high teens), even outperforming VW in the German market.
For his part, Stracke wants to see Opel increase market share from 6.2 percent to 8.5 percent across Europe — and he’s not willing to wait: “I am not patient,” he says.
The GM Authority Take
There used to be a time when Opel was a force to be reckoned with. That time is long gone… and so seems to be the time for common sense when it comes to strategic brand planning and positioning.
You see, the marketing powers that be at GM believe that, in Europe, Chevy should compete with the likes of Hyundai and Kia while Opel should go against more “upscale” brands like Ford and VW.
Perhaps I can understand the VW bit… but Ford? Chevy already fights Ford tooth in nail in North America — and as both automakers globalize their lineups, the Blue Oval and the Bow Tie brands will be the largest direct competitors in, well, ever. That leaves Opel to fight VW — which is fine. But let’s leave Ford out of it, shall we? And while we’re at it, perhaps it’s time “regional” brands like Opel (and Buick) became a single global brand?
The comments are wide open and are awaiting your constructed opinions!
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Im happy with that, they are still part of GM so I hope they increase their share. Im also hoping the new Astra and Insgnia come to OZ!
The Astra and Insignia are coming to OZ! I hope they succeed there and expand to become a truly global brand!
wow thats great, bring then on! 🙂
Making Opel a global brand would be tough. In the west few know what Opel is, and everyone knows what Buick is. And while Buick as a brand has not aged well over the years it is making a come back in the fiercest sense of the word. I like Opel I really do, but lets keep it out of the states where it would cost more to raise brand awareness then it’s worth. On that note, I do agree that the Buick and Opel’s portfolio should be one in the same. They seem to be on the same path. going after the same segment and target market.
Would globalizing Opel be tougher than changing perception about Buick? Sure, Buick is hot…right now — with a new product portfolio. The mark of real success is continued sales at the same level over time.
I’m not sure Buick will be able to do this in the long term, especially as its product ages vs. the competition. For instance, the Verano is “good enough” to compete with the current Lexus IS and Acura TSX, among others in the segment. But what happens when the all-new IS and TX come out in 2012/2013? The same goes for the LaCrosse vs. the new ES and TL and for the Regal vs… well, whatever it supposedly competes with.
So while Buick is selling right now, what’s the long-term strategy? Will 20 and 30 year-olds begin buying Buicks all of a sudden? Or would they be more prone to buy the same exact vehicle with a German name… and heritage?
Alex, you nailed this, buicks perception will be hard to shake bring on Opel…
The Regal competes against the IS and the TSX, not the Verano. And yes as new product comes out current product will be less popular. But as the General continues to be profitable it will be able to spend more and more on R&D, and continue to come out with increasingly competitive product. No one knows how popular Buick will be long term but does that mean you take a hot brand off the market and introduce something completely new and hope that people gravitate towards it? No. You continue to adapt Buick (one of the oldest brands in the world) to the segment you are trying to attract and be relentless in that pursuit.
Well, not really. The Verano is a compact and is thus a lot closer in size to the IS and TSX – as well as the other class contenders (C, 3, etc).
The Regal is truly a midsizer — especially given the fact that it’s on the Epsilon, a midsize platform.
That’s actually one of the issues with the Buick like, they position in between segments rather than directly in those segments. Same for the old Cadillac. This allows them to hide in between rather than coming out directly after a certain model.
As far as R&D goes, sure — they’ll be able to accelerate development with increased profitability. But to what extent? The Verano and Regal are brand new products that are already behind their competitors that have been on the market for the last several years (IS, TSX, TL).
As for phasing out Buick, being an old brand is irrelevant if the brand is, well, irrelevant. There can be a lead-in period where Buick and Opel co-exist… No one is calling for Buick to be dropped yesterday. Brand transitioning will be important.
I’m pretty sure if you compare the spec sheets of the TSX, IS, or CC they are direct competition to the Regal (I just did and they are all very similar in size). And you say the TSX and IS beat the Regal in their current form? I don’t know how much time you’ve spent behind the wheel of either but they are not very impressive (especially the IS which tricked out is a lot more money). And after doing a quick Google search most reviewers would agree.
Again I think Opel is great, their technology, and design philosophy, are some of the coolest in the industry. And if there weren’t 20+ brands competing for market share I’d say bring them on. But as of right now Opel is in the process of rebuilding it’s rep and Buick is just hitting its stride.
You call Buick an old brand, and I call Buick a brand with history. Is Buick Irreverent? Take a look at the car lots of a Buick GMC dealership, and what you will find is a LOT of high end German and Japanese pre-owned cars that were traded in on this so called irrelevant brand. That my friend is progress.
TSX and IS are compacts. So is the Verano, S60, C Class, 3 Series, and A4.
The CC (Passat derivative) and Regal are midsizers. These cars are in totally different classes. The LaCrosse is a bigger midsizer, almost being full size.
These classes have existed for decades — but today are more or less based on length. Today, around 180 inches long = compact. About 190 inches long = midsize. 200 inches and over is full size. 170 inches and shorter is subcompact.
Length, however, can be very misleading due to overhang and bumper length (one car can have a very “big” bumper while another may not; one can have very “pointy” body work that makes it appear long on paper due to sharp edges). As such, it’s also important to look at track/width. Nevertheless, length is usually the determining factor.
Moreover, if you take the roots of the cars we’re discussing, you’ll realize that the TSX is most definitely a compact, since it’s derived from the Civic (also a compact). The TL is a midsizer because it’s derived from the Accord. The same can’t be said about Lexus models except for the ES (derived from Camry = midsize). VW’s Jetta is a compact (it often sets the global standard for mainstream compact class size) and Passat is midsize — along with its derivative, the CC. As for Buick, Verano (Cruze derivative) is definitely compact. Regal (Malibu) is midsize.
Compact cars are smaller and lighter. Midsizers are bigger and heavier, use different components, and drive in a more “authoritative” way. There is a clear distinction between the classes… but the Regal is the definition of a midsize vehicle. The Verano is the compact. Can we agree on this?
Now, I owned a 2010 IS250 for a year. Also drove a 2011 ES350 for a year and a half. I’ve spent a great amount of time behind the wheel of a 2011 TSX. The sales numbers speak for themselves here — people buy these cars by the boatload and pay a mighty premium for them. Not sure what your definition of “impressive” is, but they are the best soft luxury cars I’ve driven to date (the Lexi, not the Acura — which is a bit confused as to what it wants to do). The IS, for instance, is leaps and bounds ahead of the Regal in terms of ride, handling, power and acceleration… maybe not infotainment (with Buick’s IntelliLink)… but it is an older car.
As for the “irrelevant” bit: Buick isn’t irrelevant to all. But it’s irrelevant to most 20 and 30 year olds. And while I really like the Verano and Regal, I simply can’t get myself to buy one for the simple reason that I would own a “Buick” — which isn’t “cool” among my generation. And when it comes to luxury, “cool” is a big factor (brand perception). People pay for the brand as much as (if not more than) they pay for the vehicle. So, Buick is very relevant for older folks (40-50 and older?) but isn’t very desirable among the younger generation due to negative image. The cars may be top notch… but if the brand doesn’t support them, then it’s a failure.
Is it worth keeping the Buick name and trying to make it appeal to the next generation of luxury car buyers by spending gobs of money on marketing and perception campaigns… or would it be more effective to scrap it over a period of time and re-introduce Opel? I don’t know. But I do know that global brands have always been more effective than regional ones.