GM Moving Opel Upmarket
Automotive News [sub] reports that Opel is moving upmarket. It's GM's attempt to "democratize technology" and emphasize their Euro-brand's "traditional German manufacturing attributes." The new strategy is designed to move Opel away from its image as "the European Chevrolet"– so that Chevrolet can become the European Chevrolet. "Opel and Chevrolet will be bookends with a clear position for both," GM-Europe President Carl-Peter Forster promises. "Over time, we will emphasize Opel's German heritage, engineering and design." But don't worry: GM plans to keep the German domestic affordable. "We are not talking about a premium price for Opel," Forster said, "but a one percent to three percent increase is foreseeable." Design, technology and image are all part of the brand touch-up– not, Forster insists, a "reinvention." Yes well, Europe is facing a premium small car glut as Fiat, MINI and others seek full-sized profits from compact cars. With GM dependent on overseas sales to keep the wolf from the door, Opel had better hope this gambit pays off.
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