Opel: Paradise Lost
In keeping with yesterday’s piece about some of the travails of the Euro auto industry, it is interesting to note that General Motors Opel is offering German buyers of its vehicles a variant on the now-lapsed Chevy money-back guarantee program. The Opel program has the slogan “Thrilled or just return it.” It is good for 30 days or 3,000 km. There is a nominal charge involved.
Opel is in the midst of a program called “Drive Opel 2022,” which apparently has a whole lot to do with driving out the number people on the payroll. And bringing out new cars. The company is to launch 23 new models and 13 new engines by 2016.
Last week in a meeting with “several hundred business partners from trade and finance,” Stephen Girsky, chairman of the Opel supervisory board, the man sent over from Detroit to aid the ailing company, stated, “Opel is the third biggest brand in the global GM portfolio and the third largest brand in the European market. Each year Opel sells well over a million cars. We are confident that the new leadership team and our long-term strategy ‘Drive Opel 2022’ will return the company to its old strength. We’re working very hard and every day we’re getting better.”
To put that “well over a million cars into context”: in 2011, there were 1,775,812 Chevrolets sold in the U.S.
One of the models they have great hopes for will have its official début in Paris this week, the Opel ADAM, an A-segment car (i.e., a really small car, with a length of just 3.7 meters, or 146 in.).
The car will actually be produced in Germany, at the company’s Eisenach Plant, where the slightly larger (157.4-in. long) Corsa is produced. They’ve spent 190-euro on the facility for the three-door. This included an all-new weld shop for the ADAM.
They’re banking on the ability to customize the car for customers as being appealing. Among the choices are various exterior colors including three different roof colors, and an array of interior options.
“No other car in this segment can be personalized as much as the Opel ADAM because we are offering virtually unlimited exterior/interior color, fabric, decor and kit combination possibilities. It’s unlikely our customers will see another car like theirs,” said Mark Adams, Opel vp, Design.
It’s the fifth generation of a vehicle that has been increasing in sales year after year since its introduction in 1997.
What happens if that $2.29 a gallon goes up by a couple of bucks a year from now? How are the pickup, SUV and crossover sales going to be then?
The Buick LaCrosse has been Buick’s top-line car since it was introduced in 2004 as a 2005 model sedan.