GM May Introduce Opel in Australia as VW-Rival and Stand Alone Brand

With Saab's recent sale to Spyker and the global financial crisis effectively killing plans to import the Cadillac CTS into Australia, GM Holden is contemplating adding Opel as a premium brand in order to go head-to-head with Volkswagen.

In more recent times and without forgetting cars like the Vauxhall Viva-based Torana and the Opel Rekord / Senator / Omega rooted Commodores, the introduction of the Opel-sourced Corsa supermini in 1994 marked a return to prominence for Opels down under. The Corsa was followed soon after by the Astra small car and Vectra mid-size sedan / hatch. The Astra was particularly successful for Holden, though it all came to a head with GM's purchase of Daewoo in 2001.

The marriage between GM and Daewoo saw the slow phasing out of Holden badged Opels, the last holdover being the Astra which was replaced by the Chevrolet Cruze in Q3 2009. Now, Opel wants back in.

Nick Reilly, Chairman of Adam Opel GmbH, has identified Australia as one of the key markets needed for returning the brand to profitability by 2012.

"For markets such as China, Australia and South Africa, Opel can be a premium brand," Reilly was quoted as saying, adding, "We have to be able to compete with Volkswagen."

Mike Devereux, Holden Chairman and Managing Director, has confirmed that Opel is under consideration for Australia:

"There's obvious synergy between Opel and Holden," Devereux told news site Go Auto. "There could be a niche for that kind of brand here in Australia. I don't know how we would position it, but we're looking at it."

Insiders say that the strong Aussie dollar and recovering economy make a good business case for Opel, and cars could arrive in showrooms as early as mid-2012.

Whether or not Opel can pull this off will have to be seen. Will style be enough to win buyers away from the established brands like Volkswagen? We welcome your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Tristan Hankins

Source: Go Auto

Gallery: Opel's European Range