Opel Plans For International Expansion6
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.
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30,000 extra units are not going to solve Opel’s problems.
Opels marketplace standing seems really out of place in the grand scheme of things, with Chevy becoming the average joes car and I am sure Hyundai is doing well in that marketplace as well. Opel seems behind the times and incredibly mismanaged. The Astra Sedan while nice looking looks like it should have been the Astra 5 years ago and that it should now be going upscale. Bottom line the alpha platform should be the basis for all next gen Opels, the design language should differentiate itself from any vehicle in the market and be the most evolutionary product on the market. GM needs to stop the BS and open up the floodgates for Opel to become the brand we all know it can be… A mix of outstanding class leading front and rear wheel drive cars…
I think it makes sense to globalize Opel; however, doesn’t Buick occupy the same space in China? I notice that there were no plans to bring Opel to the U.S., probably because of concerns that Opel would suck the wind out of Buick. Opel isn’t saddled with Buick’s long-earned reputation of a car your grandparents drove. I also assume that GM doesn’t need another brand to manage in the US and the investment to create a Opel dealer network would be staggering (not to mention that it would piss off both Chevy and Buick dealers).
This move should have happened over a decade ago. The problems with Opel’s lack of market penetration outside it’s primary Western Europe market isn’t something that just came up in the past few years due to the recession. Many of Opel’s problems are entirely the fault of GM and GM needs to do as much as possible to let Opel thrive.
Opel has a lot more potential, but GM weakens the brand a lot! For example, the Opel brand is a niche or almost a premium brand in China. GM makes money with Opel in China, although the numbers are limited to 3,000 and 4,000 cars a year. Chinese people appreciate the brand and “German engineering”, and therefore GM should use this advantage! The chinese market is big enough to sell Opel and Buick alongside, but GM should stop rebadging Opel cars as Buicks and try to give Buick its own identity. Opel cars could be produced in China, but for a much higher price than a Buick, so the numbers would stagnate at 100,000 units a year.
Opel cars produced in China should be priced like an Audi or BMW! So there would be no cannibalization of the Buick brand there:D To utilize Opel’s European plants GM could import some niche models, such as the Astra GTC, Astra Sports Tourer and the Insignia Sports Tourer to NA. Why not bringing the Zafira Tourer to Canada? GM has a big presence in South Korea so Opel cars could be sold through Chevrolet dealers there.
Possible new Opel markets:
South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Hongkong, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Indonesia, Peru, Brazil, India, (Mexico), Qatar, Oman, Trinidad Tobago, Japan, Grenada, Bermuda, Tunesia. (USA), (Canada), Barbados, Brunei