With Opel’s fortunes in the toilet and Chevrolet vehilces gaining ground in Europe, Opel brass are looking at an obvious solution – stop building Chevrolet products in South Korea and start building them in Europe.
Opel CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke told the New York Times that
The article touches on the many familiar Opel problems – the need to close factories, excessive capacity, staggering losses (Q1 2012 saw Opel lose $300 million), but the Chevrolet solution won’t be an umbrella cure of Opel’s ills. Building Cruzes and Sonics (or Aveos, as they’re known) in Europe brings to light whether the cost advantage of building in South Korea can be maintained.
Opel is also looking to export markets, like Latin America, Australia and the Middle East for growth, but given the popularity of brands like Chevrolet and Holden in those markets, is there room for yet another sort-of premium brand when established GM nameplates and more prestigious European marques are already fighting it out in their respective spheres?
If anything, the way out of this mess may be the PSA alliance. GM puts Russelsheim to use by twinning the Citroen C5 and Opel Insignia, while PSA uses their excess capacity at the Rennes plant (just like Opel, PSA’s unions fear the closure of the factory) to build the Zafira/Picasso/Peugeot MPV. Meanwhile, mum’s the word over at PSA headquarters. That would allow Astra production to be sent to a lower-cost facility in Poland, and England, where the Astra is a key product for Vauxhall.