Opel eyes Australia
GM welcomes the arrival of the Opel badge, writes Stuart Martin
CAR buyers lamenting the loss of European-sourced Holden small cars can rejoice — Opel will be selling its own range of cars in Australia next year.
Opel CEO Nick Reilly and Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux announced the Opel plans to Australian media at the Detroit Motor Show this week.
Devereux said the move was an opportunity for GM in Australia with a growing demand for German design and technology at affordable prices.
‘‘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.
Mr Devereux also said Holden would support Opel as ‘‘a strong competitor in the growing premium European segment’’, distancing the brand as a direct competitor.
GM’s European brand recently formed the backbone of Holden’s Barina and Astra small-car range — and supplied the basis for the Commodore range.
The Australian line-up is expected to include the Astra, Corsa (sold here previously as Barina) and the medium-sized Insignia.
Holden has sold a number of Opel products in Australia —the Calibra coupe from 1991 until 1998, the Corsa/ Barina from 1994 until 2005, the Vectra from 1997 to 2006, and the Zafira from 2001 until 2005.
The Astra was the last Opelsourced product sold here with a Holden badge — from 1996 through to 2008 — but the light-commercial Combo van is part of the current Holden range and likely to stay.
European gems: (above) the Opel Astra sports tourer, (below left) the Corsa and (below right) the Insignia.