2014 Opel Astra OPC ExtremeEnlarge Photo
The turnaround strategy of General Motors’ European unit Opel continues, with the automaker announcing this week it will introduce 17 new engines and 27 new models by 2018. The aggressive model rollout is part of Opel’s DRIVE!2022 strategy, which aims to see Opel (Vauxhall in the U.K.) attain 8 percent market share in Europe, return to profitability and improve quality levels. If Opel were to reach 8 percent market share, up from a current 5.8 percent, it will be Europe’s second most popular nameplate.
This is General Motors Company’s [NYSE:GM] last-ditch attempt to save Opel, which has lost more than $18 billion since 1999. And already some tough decisions have been made, such as the shutdown of some plants, ending fruitless overseas expansion plans and adopting global platforms. GM has even pulled its Chevrolet brand out of Europe to allow Opel to focus on the market.
Opel announced the DRIVE!2022 ten-year plan for the first time in summer 2012. In 2013, the company had already made substantial operational progress, cutting its losses in Europe by more than half. Opel expects 2014 to be a challenging year, particularly due to non-recurring costs such as the closure of a plant in Germany and volatile currencies.
Opel hasn’t mentioned what new models it will be launching over the next four years but some of them we already know of. These include a new Agila minicar, Corsa subcompact, Astra compact and Insignia mid-sizer, plus their separate variants. There are also some all-new models in the works, one of which is likely to be a new crossover.
Recently, GM confirmed Opel will build a new model for the U.S. market, and it’s likely Opel will also build some models for GM’s Australian unit Holden.