News - Opel
Breaking news: Opel Australia to close operations
Gone so soon: The Astra was Opel’s best-seller during its 12-months lifecycle in Australia.
German niche brand Opel to exit Australia after just 12 months
2 August 2013
OPEL is closing the doors on its loss-making Australian operations just twelve
months after opening for
In a statement released this afternoon, the company said it would cease all
Australian operations and wind down its network of 20 dealers effective
The company says price cuts on many of its European rivals, coupled with the
expense of establishing a new brand in the competitive Australian market, meant
its continued existence was no longer financially viable.
“In order to be competitive, Opel Australia would need to follow recent
competitor price reductions, and significantly reposition the price of its core
volume models,” it said.
“These changes, combined with the continued investment required to ensure brand
awareness, result in a business which is not financially viable for any of the
In 2011, then-GM Europe CEO (and Opel chief) Karl-Friedrich Stracke projected
the company would achieve 15,000 Australian sales by 2015 – at the time more
than the combined total sales of Renault, Peugeot, Citroen, Skoda and Fiat
However, the company has sold just 1530 cars since its inception on August 1
last year, including 541 in 2012 and 989 for the first six months of 2013.
Australia already has has the most competitive car market in the world, with
more than 60 brands fighting over 1.1 million annual sales. An expansion into
markets such as Australia was seen as a key plank in Opel’s plan to diversify
beyond its European core, which has been savaged by economic woes post-GFC.
Opel globally has lost money for years. In April this year owner General Motors
pledged a further 4.2 billion Euros to the company to fund new models,
powertrains and testing facilities.
The company says it will look at supplying fellow General Motors subsidiary
Holden with niche product sourced from Europe, as its has previously done with
models such as the Corsa (re-badged Barina), Vectra and Zafira.
Opel, which sources all its cars from Europe, currently sells the VW
Polo-rivalling Corsa light-car (from $16,490 to $18,990), the Golf-rivalling
Astra small-car (from $23,990 to $35,990) and Passat-rivalling Insignia (from
$38,490 to $48,990).
The company also sold hot OPC versions of all three model lines here, and
planned to launch the Zafira people-mover this month, and the Mokka small SUV
The company said it would now work with employees (including its 15 direct
staff at its Melbourne headquarters), dealer and suppliers to sort through the