Opel planning new premium crossover, compact EV

Opel’s new CEO says the brand plans to introduce a premium large car above the Insignia and a small EV below the Ampera (Volt) over the next few years.
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Speaking with German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Karl-Friedrich Stracke said the German brand could not “content itself with the Insignia”.

Mr Stracke said the new vehicle would not be a traditional large sedan, but rather a new type of crossover that doesn’t yet have any direct competitors.

He said the new car would sit at the top of the Opel range, with a launch planned for 2015-2016.

Also in the brand’s future plans is an electric vehicle that would sit at the compact end of the line-up. It is likely to be based on the platform of the next-generation Corsa light car or Agila super-light car.

Opel is of significant interest to Australia as the brand confirmed earlier this year that it would launch Down Under in 2012. The Corsa, Astra and Insignia will be among the first vehicles to arrive in local showrooms.

Mr Stracke said he is targeting 150,000 sales outside of Europe by 2014, boosted from 100,000 from his long-time predecessor, Nick Reilly.

Pricing will be the key to Opel’s success in Australia. The brand has a semi-premium reputation in the market similar to Volkswagen, and Opel vehicles will need to be priced and specified competitively to gain acceptance in the market. Playing in the brand’s favour is the familiarity of its products, with Australians historically fans of the Corsa (old Holden Barina) and Astra.