Opel eyes Aus­tralia

GM wel­comes the ar­rival of the Opel badge, writes Stu­art Martin

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

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.

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