By on November 30, 2012

Opel is bleeding money and has to save at all costs. Opel hoped to share development of the next generation Insignia  with PSA, but that was called off before it was even announced. According to German media reports, Opel engineers quickly developed a more cost effective solution:  A head transplant.

According to the reports, the main ingredient of the new Insignia will be the old Insignia. On its unchanged rear body, say the reports, Opel will graft the front part of the new Astra, and  presto, a new Insignia. Asked  for a comment, Opel said it wants to be “more modular and more flexible” in the future.

The news prompted the German press to new creativity: Kfz-Betrieb, a German magazine covering the sales and service end of the auto industry, coined a new name (“Astragnia”) for the car, and dispatched designers to the Photoshop front to re-create the beast. It did not take long.

The paper also reports that production of  Opel’s Mokka SUVlet could soon migrate from South Korea  to Europe, most likely Opel Eisenach. The Mokka is a rare hot seller at Opel, customers have to wait six months to get theirs.  What’s more, moving production from Korea to Europe is seen as a concession to appease the German unions.

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11 Comments on “Poor Man’s MQB: Opel’s Next Gen Insignia Will Be An Astragnia...”

  • avatar

    Things at Opel must be even worse than originally let on. Surely the sales volumes from Buick in China and North America would justify doing a new Insignia for Europe? Or is the plan to stylistically distance the two with the next generation? I can’t help but think this is another consequence of Opel’s structuring as a GM subsidiary, rather than a brand like Cadillac or GMC, since it requires them to carry an inordinate level of expenses and liabilities that otherwise would belong solely to the parent company.

    • 0 avatar

      The Regal isn’t exactly lighting up the US market. No clue what sales are in China, but you’re still faced with justification of local build (the US Regals were sourced from Europe when it first hit the market). If they can combine the two and then build the Astra AND Insignia in the same plant with similar parts, it would definitely go toward getting the costs under control. At this point, Opel’s sales and other financials just aren’t worth building two different cars in high-cost Europe. And, as noted in the article, Opel/GM is forced to make concessions to the European unions. Thus, if they can build for several different markets in a high-labor-cost country but save on vehicle commonality-related costs, they could make Opel at least less red ink-covered.

      • 0 avatar

        The Regal consistently sells around 80,000 units a year in China, which isn’t huge, but certainly acceptable. Add to that ~40,000 Regals in North America, ca. 100,000 Insignias in Europe, and an unknown number of Chevrolet Vectras in Latin America, and you have a car selling nearly a quarter million a year worldwide.

        I still think you could make a justification for developing an all-new model and tooling up a single plant in China to build it, then shipping out CKDs for local assembly in Europe and North America. That would be far less labor and cost intensive than full-scale local production and could make a new model viable at lower volumes.

        GM really ought to consider selling this car in South Korea too, it seems like a natural second model for Alpheon.

  • avatar

    When Volkswagen launched the “new” Passat back in 2011, it essentially relaunched the old car (based on a modified version of the Golf platform and launched in 2005), with a redesigned front-end and rear-end.

    But hey, that was Volkswagen. You see, when Volkswagen does something like this, nobody complains, but when other car makers do something similar, suddenly it’s no longer acceptable.

    • 0 avatar

      PQ35 platform for the Mk5 Golf, PQ46 for the Mk7 Passat (which indeed shares its platform with the Mk6 Passat). There is some commonality between PQ35 and PQ46, but not enough, that’s why VW developed the MQB architecture which Bertel refers to in the article.

    • 0 avatar

      @Lampredi: More of the ‘same sausage different lengths’ philosophy, IMO.

      I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, if you can’t say anything bad about GM, don’t post here.

  • avatar

    And who is realy thinking that Insignia and Astra have completely different platforms?
    They already share à lot. just like their predecessors did in the seventies, eighties and nineties!
    A further sharing is the logical way ahead and already predicted by mr. Forster when hè was still at the helm at Opel.

  • avatar

    Malibu is another car based on Insignia. Then there are LaCross and Impala (and XTS) – all are long wheelbase versions of the same platform. So volume wise it is more than enough to justify further development of platform. The question is there need to make Insignia distinctive from other models? I do not see what is the problem – we are talking about front and rear clips. You cannot just take Astra front clip and attach to Insignia – sizes and shapes are different. You can make it same style – Honda does it, Toyota does it (in most cases to cannot tell Camry from Corolla). All companies have modular platforms – GM is simply late. Consider Lexus ES and Avalon – exactly the same car (Avalon is actually better and slightly less expensive to boot) and Camry and etc – use same platform – different sizes.

  • avatar

    “Yeah…And then we’ll take the front of a Cadillac and graft it on to a Cavillier…”

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