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Opel set to undercut Euro rivals

German currency: Opel plans to take on the big guns from Europe when it launches in Australia this September.

GM’s German brand Opel promises Euro style with value pricing from launch

26 Jun 2012

OPEL Australia plans to take the fight up to the likes of Volkswagen and Peugeot by offering better-value cars with more affordable pricing and extra features.

The aggressive stance by General Motors’ European brand was foreshadowed by Opel Australia founding managing director Bill Mott when announcing the new-look 17-dealer Opel sales network that will launch the initial three-model range across Australia in September (see separate story).

Previously offered as part of the Holden range, Opel vehicles will now be sold down a separate sales channel under Opel badges for the first time, sitting above the Holden line.

Mr Mott said Opel intended to be one of the premier mainstream European manufacturers in the Australian market.

He named European importers Volkswagen, Peugeot, Citroen and Renault as major rivals, adding that Opel would not be pitched as a premium brand.

“We are a German engineering brand but we are an accessible brand,” he said. “We don’t see ourselves as a premium brand as such.”

Mr Mott said Opel would use value as its point of difference against the middling European competitors.

“We intend to price ourselves where have got a price and equipment advantage that is quite compelling to the customer,” he said.

 center imageFrom top: Opel Corsa Astra hatch Insignia Sports Tourer.

“We are really looking to put together a package that really speaks to customers and has them considering our brand.”

Mr Mott declined to put a date on when the Opel head office’s stated target of 15,000 sales a year in Australia would be achieved.

“That was the very aggressive target given to us by management – that was a long-term target,” he said.

“I can only say that we are on track to meet our objectives. There’s no timeframe. It will take us some time to get there.”

The 15,000 target was quoted to GoAuto last year by GM Europe CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke at the Frankfurt motor show.

“It’s 15,000 to start from and then we want to go from there,” said Mr Stracke when asked how many vehicle sales he expected from Australia.

He said the target was realistic given Opel had sold 5000 vehicles in another key export market, Israel, after launching there in January last year, but admitted that lack of brand recognition would be Opel’s biggest hurdle Down Under.

Of the likely rivals for Opel in Australia, VW has the highest sales, delivering 44,740 vehicles last year, while Peugeot topped 5000 vehicles, Renault sold about 3600 and Citroen 1450.

Opel is intending to kick off its standalone Australian adventure with three core models – Corsa, Astra and Insignia. Corsa will effectively go head-to-head with cars such as the VW Polo, Peugeot 208 and Citroen C2, while the Astra – familiar to many Holden customers – will ply its trade against the likes of VW Golf, Peugeot 308, Renault Megane/Fluence and Citroen C3.

The flagship Insignia will ride into battle against the Ford Mondeo and VW Passat.

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