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by Tim Beissmann

Opel plans to launch 27 new models and 17 new engines over the next four years as it targets strong growth in Germany and across Europe and a return to profitability.

In updating the company’s ‘DRIVE!2022’ strategy, Opel CEO Dr Karl-Thomas Neumann said Opel and UK sister brand Vauxhall were aiming for an 8.0 per cent market share in Europe by 2022, up from their current 5.8 per cent share.

Achieving that goal would make Opel-Vauxhall the second-largest car maker in the region.

Neumann also plans to grow Opel’s share of the German market from 7.2 per cent currently to 10 per cent over the next eight years.

Opel-ADAM-ROCKS

New product will spearhead the aggressive strategy, with the first new models to launch later this year. The Vivaro van, Adam Rocks micro car (above) and Corsa city car (top) will all launch before the end of 2014, while the fifth-generation of the company’s most important model, the Astra (below), is set to follow in 2015/2016.

Opel’s “powertrain offensive” includes at least three new engine families, one of which is a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol, and several new transmissions ranging up to an eight-speed automatic.

Neumann says strengthening Opel’s image as an “emotional, approachable and German brand” will be key to achieving its goals, placing emphasis on “technical innovations, German engineering skills, and good value for money”.

Leading the charge will be General Motors’ OnStar connectivity system, which will introduce Wi-Fi hotspot functionality to the range from 2015.

Opel Astra 1

Neumann says Opel is on track to return to profitability by “mid-decade” through a number of measures, including “lower product and structural costs, improved capacity utilisation of plants, higher sales revenues and the improved brand profile”.

Opel has not posted a profit in over a decade, losing billions of dollars in that time and placing considerable strain on parent company GM.

Opel attempted an unsuccessful entry into the Australian market in 2012 that ended within 12 months. Opel vehicles will return to our shores next year, however, with sister company Holden to offer localised versions of the Astra, Insignia and Cascada.




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