New Opel/Vauxhall CEO Nick Reilly plans to launch several new models over the next five years in a bid to freshen up the firm’s range.
Hybrid and electric models are at the forefront of Reilly’s plans, but the Brit also plans to launch a baby SUV based on the Corsa platform, as well as a new small car to sit alongside the Agila rather than replace it.
The Agila had been tipped to be axed at the end of its lifecycle as it had been co-developed with Suzuki, which is now a subsidiary of Volkswagen. But Reilly said the partnership would continue and Vauxhall’s new small car would be pitched as a rival to the Mini.
“All existing projects with GM [including Suzuki] will be continued,” Reilly told German publication Auto Motor und Sport. “I personally believe that there is room for two models in this segment: one that is positioned more practically than the Agila and another that comes from the sporty and lifestyle side and will be future mini.”
The Corsa-based mini SUV is tentatively pencilled in for a 2013 launch and is likely to be built in South Korea, although Reilly didn’t elaborate further.
Reilly said Opel/Vauxhall would also get more independence from GM in developing its own products. He pointed out the current Corsa was largely developed in South Korea, while its replacement would be developed in Germany.
The firm’s first all-electric car should be on-sale within three years and would be an all-new model, rather than an electrically-powered model from its existing range. Existing cars in Vauxhall’s range could receive electric powertrains within five years.
Reilly is also pressing for more hybrids in Vauxhall’s range. Its first hybrid, the Ampera, is scheduled to go on sale in 2011 and Reilly is predicted initial annual sales of the car to be around 10,000 units.
“We will have hybrid engines in our program in the next five years," he said. “We expect [to sell] 10,000 to 15,000 vehicles [Amperas] a year at the start. Later it could quickly become substantially more.”