New Opel/Vauxhall president Nick Reilly has made developing a new city car his top priority.
The smallest car in Opel’s range at present is the Agila, which shares its platform with the Suzuki Splash and is built at Suzuki’s Hungarian facility. Suzuki has long been linked to partial takeover by Volkswagen, though, in a move which would scupper any deal Opel has in place with the Japanese firm.
Reilly is therefore keen to press on with plans to develop a city car unique to Opel, to compete in a segment he describes as vital as the downsizing trend continues across Europe.
“I see gaps [in our range] which need to be filled,” Reilly told reporters in a conference call. “Opel needs a mini; that will be our top priority.”
Reilly also committed himself to developing hybrid vehicles and named Ellesmere Port as a leading contender for European production of the Chevrolet Volt-based Ampera.
“We can takes advantage of global technology and look at introducing hybrids,” he said. “Ampera will be manufactured in Europe. Initially it will be imported from the US, but in the long term, we are looking for a local source.
“Ellesmere Port is one of the candidates, but there are others. Also, we will look at battery technology. Electric vehicles will increase the focus on that.”