General Motors’ Australian and German divisions made the joint product announcement at this week’s 2014 Paris motor show.
Holden has already committed to bringing the Astra GTC three-door, Astra VXR hot-hatch, Cascada convertible and Insignia OPC to Australia in 2015 as it targets becoming Australia's most popular brand by 2020. These Opels would account for less than a quarter of the brand’s model range, but more imports are promised
“I’m very excited about the role our great products will play in the resurgence of the Holden brand, by being able to provide more than one-third of Holden’s future product line-up,” said Opel boss Karl-Thomas Neumann in a statement.
“Spearheaded by Opel’s Drive! 2022 strategy, we are making significant investments in new models, engines, transmissions and testing facilities to ensure we deliver truly world class products to our export markets like Australia.”
Holden chairman and managing director Gerry Dorizas added in the release that the company is “absolutely committed to bringing the best possible products from GM’s global portfolio to Australian customers”.
Holden won’t confirm yet which additional models it will bring in, while the total number of Opels that could be imported depends on how many vehicles in total will be sold in Australia in the coming years.
One model where betting odds won’t be worthwhile is the new, fifth-generation Corsa (above). As CarAdvice revealed earlier today, the Corsa is being primed to join the Barina in a double assault on the city car segment. The Corsa would essentially be positioned as the premium city car taking on the likes of the VW Polo, while the Barina would be the price leader.
Holden could adopt a similar strategy in the small car class by bringing the Astra five-door hatch to sit above the locally built Cruze, though the future of the latter model carries a question mark beyond the end of local manufacturing in 2017. The next-generation Astra is due in 2015.
Other realistic options from the current Opel portfolio include the style-focused Adam city car (below), the budget-conscious Opel Karl/Vauxhall Viva minicar out in 2015, and the Zafira people-mover (above, in Tourer guise) that was set to launch in Australia before being cancelled when Opel announced its premature withdrawal from the Australian market in 2013.
Holden already sells the Trax that’s a Chevrolet version of the Opel Mokka baby SUV, though Opel boss Neumann revealed it was looking at more SUVs and crossover-style vehicles – all of which would be natural fits for the Australian market. There’ll be no large car, though.
“Obviously the segment of large cars beyond [the mid-sized] Insignia is shrinking in Europe and other places so we don’t want to invest there,” said Neumann.
“We have other gaps in our portfolio. Yes I agree there’s potential there [for more SUVs] but we should not underestimate how important the CO2 discussion will be and the footprint of SUV, the 4WD is not really helping here. So we do think the focus will be more on the crossover type of vehicle.
“We already have a few – the Insignia Cross Country and Adam Rocks. We’ve also said before with our traditional MPVs, we have Meriva and Zafira … great cars but they also operate in shrinking segment so the next generation will be more crossover style. They will have strong appearance like an SUV but will not be as high as an SUV. I think this type of crossover has a lot of potential for the future.”