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by Tim Beissmann

The boss of General Motors’ European divisions admits the premium pricing strategy for Opel and Vauxhall has backfired.

Opel/Vauxhall CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke told industry journal Automotive News Europe both brands would phase out their upmarket pricing structure in the near future as they attempt to appeal to more mainstream customers.

“We need to regain our traditional customer base,” Stracke said. “We moved Opel up too quickly. Going forward there will be adjustments to make our cars more affordable.”

Stracke confirmed the revised pricing strategy would not impact GM’s planned 11 billion euro ($13.7 billion) investment into new product through to 2014, which is set to give birth to 23 all-new or heavily updated models by 2016.

“Product is king and the key to future success,” Stracke said.

The Opel Mokka sub-compact SUV and the Opel Adam micro city car are expected to lead the charge in Europe with prices pitched directly against the brand’s mainstream competitors like Ford and Mazda.

Opel will open the doors of its Australian showrooms in September, with the launch range to comprise the Corsa light car, small-sized Astra and medium/large Insignia.

Opel Australia is yet to reveal pricing details, although its cars are likely to carry a premium over the comparative models from sister company Holden.

The entry-level Astra is expected to share the Cruze’s 103kW/200Nm 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine. Holden’s six-speed manual Cruze CD 1.4iTi is priced from $22,490. The equivalent 2.0-litre five-speed manual Ford Focus Trend starts at $24,490.

The Corsa is also expected to be priced above the Barina, which starts at $15,990 for the five-door five-speed manual model.




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