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SUVs top Opel wishlist

Going it alone: Opel will have to contend with just one SUV in its local line-up when the Mokka arrives in Australia sometime next year.

Opel Australia boss Bill Mott says local line-up sorely lacks SUV models

23 Oct 2012

OPEL says the lack of an SUV will keep it from playing in the largest growth areas in Australia for some time.

Opel Australia managing director Bill Mott said that, while there have been some encouraging early signs in the first few weeks of sales, the importance of an SUV – or two – for the brand in Australia is clear.

“If I could pick it off the shelf tomorrow, given the growth in the marketplace, it would be an SUV,” he said at last week’s Sydney motor show.

“That would be my wish… and I would have more than just a Mokka.”

Mokka – a small Korean-built crossover based on the Corsa/Barina platform, and twinned with the upcoming Holden Trax – is poised to become Opel’s first SUV in Australia in 2013.

However, it is the company’s only SUV/crossover for the foreseeable future, so it could be years before the brand can offer a compact or medium-sized combatant against the big-selling Mazda CX-5, Volkswagen Tiguan, Subaru Forester and Honda CR-V.

While it is too early to judge how Opel’s mainstream models – the Corsa light car, Astra small car and Insignia medium car – will fare in Australia, Mr Mott said he is encouraged by the reception the Insignia has received.

“I think one positive note is the traction we seem to be getting on Insignia, and the interest on that vehicle,” he said.

Mr Mott said dealers had already taken deposits on the new high-performance Astra OPC variant – unveiled at AIMS last week and due early next year – even before final pricing and specifications were announced.

“We already have deposits even before we announced the arrival of this car into the country,” Mr Mott said.

“I think there is a latent interest in the vehicle, and I think there will be people who put their money down before the car arrives in March.”

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