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by Tim Beissmann

Opel says it will continue to look for new markets outside Europe to sell its vehicles despite shutting down its Australian operations less than a year after opening its doors.

An Opel spokesman told Automotive News the company was committed to “looking into new markets wherever it makes business sense for us”, denying that its failure in Australia would make it think twice about its expansion plans.

The spokesman said General Motor’s German division deemed its recent launch into Israel a success, with the brand forecasting 5000 sales in that market this year after launching in the first half of 2011.

Along with Australia, Opel also launched in Chile and Singapore last year, and started selling cars in the United Arab Emirates out of Dubai earlier this year.

Opel-Cascada

Boosting sales outside Europe is part of Opel’s strategy to reduce its dependence on the declining European market and reduce excess factory capacity. Opel and European sister brand Vauxhall have lost 13.6 billion euros ($19.7 billion) since 1999.

After launching on September 1, Opel Australia confirmed its decision to cease operations at the beginning of this month, blaming the surprising move on aggressive price reductions from rivals that would have forced the brand into a significant repositioning of its core models that it deemed financially unviable.

Opel sold 541 Corsa, Astra and Insignia models in Australia in 2012, and delivered another 1100 between January and July this year.

Homegrown division Holden, which will again be General Motors’ sole representation in Australia after Opel’s official exit, is working with its departing sister company regarding the potential for future Holden-badged niche products, with the Astra OPC seemingly the most likely to make the switch.




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