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Opel Mokka to come Down Under early

Get the jump: Opel’s Mokka will hit Australian showrooms in the third quarter of 2013, with petrol power only to begin with.

Earlier than expected local launch for Opel Mokka SUV, to be here by September

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Opel logo30 Apr 2013

By MIKE COSTELLO

OPEL’s newly formed Australian subsidiary is poised to get a substantial shot in the arm after announcing an earlier-than-expected arrival for its Mokka compact SUV.

Set to hit local showrooms by September this year, the chic Mokka will give General Motors’ German arm a presence in the booming small SUV market – a hive of new model activity and one of Australia’s fastest growing vehicle segments.

The mooted arrival will in all probability see Opel get the jump on rival new models including the Peugeot 2008, Renault Captur and Ford EcoSport. Other new additions set for the next few months include the related Holden Trax and oddball Nissan Juke.

Opel launched locally in September 2012 with three models – the Corsa, Astra and Insignia. The Mokka will add crucial volume, while the addition of niche models such as the Zafira people-mover (mid 2013) and Cascada convertible (early 2014) will help the marque cover yet more bases.

While confirmation that the Mokka would get a local launch comes as small surprise – we reported as much in February – news that it will arrive in the third quarter is unexpected.

Strong overseas demand – more than 100,000 units ordered in Europe alone already – was expected to push the local release back until end of year at the earliest, as the fledgling local arm fought for allocation against much larger markets overseas.

Initially, all Mokkas will be powered by a variation of the 103kW/200Nm 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol unit found in the base Astra hatch. Price-leading front-drive and flagship all-wheel-drive configurations will both be offered.

Both six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions will be available.

There is no confirmation on exactly when or if the 96kW/300Nm 1.7-litre diesel engine available in Europe will make its way here. Australians have recently shown a preference for petrol at the small end of the SUV market, only favouring oil-burners in larger family SUVs.

Pricing is unclear at this stage, although as a point of reference, Peugeot told us in France last week that its rival 2008 is likely to kick off around the $24,000 mark.

Opel Australia managing director Bill Mott said the Mokka was a very welcome and highly anticipated model for the local line-up.

“We are very excited to bring the Mokka to Australia. This car has already had in excess of 100,000 orders in Europe since launch and with the Australian SUV segment growing 22 per cent in the last 12 months, it is certainly a space we want to be playing in.

“Our Mokka not only allows us to join the segment, but compete in the market with a bold offering.

“We will have a number of Mokkas on the road from next month for local testing and we are set to see vehicles in dealer showrooms nationally in the third quarter of this year,” he said.

Mr Mott has previously told us that he was confident there was plenty of room in the market for Mokka and its Trax sibling to co-exist without stepping on each other’s toes. Expect the Mokka to be positioned in a marginally more ‘premium’ position than the Trax.

As such, Opel says all Mokkas will come standard here with a reversing camera as standard equipment, while systems such as adaptive forward lighting, hill start assist and hill descent control, and a second-generation Opel Eye front camera with forward collision alert and lane departure warning will be offered as options.

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