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Opel lifts lid on coming models

Keep your top on: Opel Australia is hoping to expand its line-up over the coming years, with the new Cascada convertible at the top of its wish list.

Expanded line-up for takes shape as Opel mines vast catalogue for Australia

22 Oct 2012

OPEL looks set to broaden its line-up in Australia over the next 18 months with the Mokka baby SUV, newly announced Cascada convertible and Zafira Tourer people-mover, along with more high-performance OPC models.

But questions hang over the Adam city car that debuted in Paris last month, while the Meriva compact MPV has been eliminated for now, as Opel tries to avoid model complexity.

Opel Australia managing director Bill Mott said that, while his team continues to scrutinise every new model, at this early stage of the brand’s existence in Australia it was essential to prioritise vehicles such as the Mokka, a Barina/Corsa-based SUV that will also be sold here as the Holden Trax.

“We are obviously very keen to have (Mokka), and sooner rather than later,” said Mr Mott at the Sydney motor show last week.

“We’re doing all the necessary groundwork to get the vehicle, and we’re hoping to make an announcement relatively soon, but I can’t give you any timing information right now.”

Mr Mott also confirmed that the Cascada sportscar – initial images of which were released just hours before Opel Australia’s first show media conference – is front of mind for Australia.

52 center imageFrom top: Opel Australia's Bill Mott Opel Mokka, Zafira Tourer Adam Astra OPC.

“We will raise our hands for it, and do the analysis on that vehicle,” he revealed.

“Beyond when it might come here and what it might be priced at, we have a lot of work to do yet. But we are definitely interested in the vehicle.”

Another model that interests Mr Mott is the Zafira Tourer seven-seater – the latest-generation of the vehicle sold here by Holden until 2006.

“We’re analysing that vehicle. We think that segment hasn’t exactly had any sexy offers in it – not to be disparaging about what the competitors have in that segment.”

Opel says the Fiat 500-like Adam represents a number of logistical and marketing challenges for Australia.

“We are looking at it, (but first) we’d like to gauge the reaction to the Corsa Colour Edition as it fills that niche and price point.

“Adam is not an entry-level competitor. It is a vehicle from Germany that is of high quality and has a lot of bells and whistles.”

With similar bright paintwork, matching stylised trim and array of options, the $18,490 Corsa Colour Edition has been designed to emulate the personalisation experience central to the Adam’s appeal as a premium – rather than low-cost – urban runabout.

“The other problem we have (with Adam) is getting to a price point as well as its variability,” Mr Mott added.

“There is an infinite number of variations, and when you talk about lead time and delivery here in Australia, it is whether a customer is willing to wait all those many months for delivery, and how we might even manage that, so there are some things we have to work through.

“I am very keen to analyse that a bit more before closing the door on the Adam, but it is not for the short term.

“We really have to look at it in more detail, but we will wait to see how the likes of the (VW) Up goes in the marketplace.

“It could help us establish the brand in Australia like OPC does. It’s really a funky, cool car. It’s just an outstanding vehicle, and could help cement what Opel stands for, so we’re not closing any doors.”

The market potential for the small Meriva people-mover, which is also Corsa-based, has ruled it out for Australia.

“Frankly, when I first came here I was all guns for the Meriva because it’s such an outstanding and innovative vehicle. It says lots about our brand, about the innovation and practicality of that car.

“But when you look at its segment and how much volume you can achieve with it, it becomes a bit more problematic, so we’re not planning for the Meriva.

“It’s a question of how many battles and how many fronts you want to fight all at once.”

On the OPC (Opel Performance Centre) front, Mr Mott said his team has already conducted a business case for other models beyond the Astra OPC unveiled last week in Sydney.

“I’ve raised my hand to say we would be keen to expand the OPC range,” he said. “The other vehicles available would be the Insignia – the most powerful car Opel has ever built at 239kW – and the Corsa.

“I’ve already raised my hand for both of those vehicles, but whether we would actually get them and when are questions I cannot answer right now.”

However, Mr Mott said he is wary of ushering in too many models before Opel Australia has had enough time to establish itself in a hyper-competitive market.

“That is a little bit of a tightrope that we need to walk, and one that all manufacturers need to walk, where you can bring in too much.

“We need to focus on what really needs to happen. We need to be selling Astras and we need to be selling Insignias, and Corsas as well, so if we start to expand the range too far and too quickly, you can get some of the sales consultants losing a bit of focus.”

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