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Opel confirmed for Australia (copyright image)

Opel Corsa ... an earlier generation was sold here as the Holden Barina before GM switched to Daewoo for sourcing the Barina. (copyright image)

Opel Astra ... the previous generation is well known as the Holden Astra. But it seems General Motors doesn't want Holden dealers to have the new model. (copyright image)

Opel Insignia ... this is the current generation, the successor to the car Australians recognise as the Holden Vectra.

Home > News > GM > Opel

11th January, 2011

General Motors’ European brand Opel is set to enter the Australian market in 2012.

Opel CEO Nick Reilly and Holden Chairman and Managing Director Mike Devereux announced the Opel export programme at the Detroit Motor Show on behalf of GM earlier today.

Mr Devereux said Opel nameplates like Astra enjoyed a long and popular history in Australia.

“Opel will be sold as a stand-alone brand in Australia for the first time in 2012, but Australian drivers have a strong affinity with Opel vehicles like Astra which were previously sold under the Holden brand,” he said.

Although GM's European products have long been sold here in Australia, Mr Devereux went on to say “Opel presents a new opportunity for GM in Australia with a growing demand for German design and technology at affordable prices."

“We look forward to supporting our 'sister' brand establish itself as a strong competitor in the growing premium European segment.”

Mr Reilly said Australia played a key role in the brand’s international strategy and was one of three new markets, including Israel and Chile, announced in recent weeks.

“Australia is one of the most important new opportunities for Opel as we continue to reposition Opel as a global European brand in markets like the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and South America,” he said.

“Our German engineering heritage, award-winning design and sporty and efficient performance will help position Opel as a premium alternative in new international markets like Australia.”

The Australian portfolio will include the Corsa, Astra and Insignia with the complete model line-up and dealer network to be announced closer to launch.

Opel is a mainstream automotive brand selling a variety of passenger cars and a small van. Additionally, Opel has badge-engineered vans, sourced from Renault, in their product range.

According to Next Car's editor, Stephen Walker, the introduction of the Opel brand has many implications.

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He indicated "Whilst it is unreasonable to expect GM to reveal their business plan, it is easy to see that the introduction of another GM brand into the mainstream market is clearly going to dilute the value of the Holden brand. By setting up a new dealer network, GM is denying the loyal band of Holden dealers the opportunity to update Holden Astra owners into a new model Astra. It's the same for Barina and Vectra owners who continue to enjoy the goodwill of their local Holden dealer. Any new dealer network will force existing GM dealers to compete against the new GM dealers in a battle of Cruze versus Astra. However, GM already have their Prestige Brands network selling Saab and the now discontinued Hummer brands. This is the network that was to sell the Cadillac brand before GM realised there was no market in Australia for Cadillac. Is Opel a way of preparing Australians for the introduction of another GM brand at some time? Chevrolet, for example. Whilst Chevrolet is often a Daewoo by another name, GM in Detroit see Chevrolet as a global brand and they want to expand sales into more markets. By diluting the value of the Holden brand and introducing the concept of alternative brands, GM is possibly preparing for the day when they walk away from the Holden brand once the Commodore comes to the end of the road. Further, by capitalising on the Opel name, GM will increase the value of Adam Opel AG. This will be handy in the event that GM has to sell their European operations at some time. It's all about the balance sheet. "Detroit" is in control and the balance sheet is what is important. GM still has financial difficulties and continues to accept government hand-outs where it can, despite having resolved many of their 'woes' with a 'public float'."

"It is obvious that a new GM dealer network will mean existing Holden dealers will be, by default, the Daewoo dealers of the future."

"Whilst GM haven't disclosed their business plan, time will reveal all."


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More Opel News ..... here
General Motors News ..... here

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