Still no word on Opel’s fu­ture in South Africa

An­nounce­ment ex­pected to­day has been de­layed

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - DE­NIS DROPPA

AN AN­NOUNCE­MENT on the fu­ture of Opel in South Africa, due to have taken place to­day, has been in­def­i­nitely post­poned.

Ac­cord­ing to Lunga Nt­send­wana, Prod­uct Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Man­ager at Gen­eral Mo­tors South Africa, the de­lay is due to “last minute travel changes re­quired by Opel lead­er­ship sched­uled to at­tend the event.”

“As soon as their travel sched­ules have been fi­nalised, we will con­firm the new date,” Lunga said.

GM an­nounced three weeks ago that it was dis­in­vest­ing in South Africa and that from the end of this year it would no longer lo­cally build or im­port Chevro­lets, al­though it would con­tinue with af­ter-sales and parts sup­port. The fu­ture of the Isuzu brand is as­sured un­der the newly-es­tab­lished Isuzu Mo­tors South Africa, which will con­tinue to pro­duce Isuzu bakkes and trucks at the Struan­dale fac­tory in Port El­iz­a­beth, which it has pur­chased from GMSA. How­ever, the fate of the Opel brand is still up in the air. GMSA stated that it would work with PSA (Peu­geotCitroen) group to de­velop the fu­ture strat­egy for Opel af­ter the re­cent in­ter­na­tional sale of Opel to PSA, but it isn’t yet known whether Peu­geot will take over the Ger­man brand lo­cally. Opel, which be­gan build­ing cars in Ger­many in 1898, has a long and dis­tin­guished his­tory in South Africa and started sell­ing ve­hi­cles here in the 1920s. Opels did par­tic­u­larly well in mo­tor rac­ing in the eight­ies and nineties, with Mike Briggs and Grant McCleery be­ing the most suc­cess­ful. Af­ter pre­vi­ously be­ing some­what marginalised by GMSA which con­cen­trated more on its Chevro­let brand, Opel has made a lo­cal come­back in re­cent years with the launch of cars like the Mokka, Corsa, Adam, and the As­tra - the lat­ter be­ing re­cently voted SA’s (and this pub­li­ca­tion’s) Car of the Year.

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