Despite losing $600m, Vauxhall/Opel is planning for the future. They’re bringing the Chevrolet Volt to Europe and they expect to be back in the black by 2012. Now, it appears, they want to fill that hole in their lineup. You know? That city car sized hole? Just below the Corsa.
Autocar reports that Vauxhall/Opel is building a three door city car using parts from the Corsa and Astra. The raison d’être for this car is “premium”. Vauxhall/Opel wants this car to have a sophisticated infotainment system to give it a premium feel. To show how serious Vauxhall/Opel are about this project (which is code-named “Made in Eisenach”), they’ve invested €90m in GM’s Eisenach plant (now can you see why it was code-named “Made in Eisenach”?) to expand its build volume by 80,000 to 90,000 units per year. The volume they hope to sell of this new car. Says Nick Reilly, Opel/Vauxhall CEO,
This is a further milestone in the growth strategy for our business. Our €90 million investment in the Eisenach plant will significantly strengthen its role within European manufacturing network and will offer customers a brand new model with innovative technology and exciting design.
Autocar also reports that in February, Vauxhall/Opel announced that the city car concept would be showcased at this year’s Paris Motor Show. Paris Motor Show came, but the city car concept didn’t. But Vauxhall/Opel said that despite the failure to show up at the Paris Motor Show, it will come to production by 2013. Quite what this means for the Vauxhall/Opel Agila (which is a city car that is actually a Suzuki Wagon R or Splash, depending which generation you’re talking about) is unclear. After all, why spend all that money developing a city car of your own, when you already have one to sell? Maybe because the man who made the Suzuki Splash-to-Opel Agila transformation has since been poached by Suzy’s newest partner, Volkswagen. Besides, an upscale replacement might just have potential as an American-market Buick down the road. At least as long as a Buick micro-car isn’t too outlandish of a concept…