Opel-Vauxhall to forge close links with Buick to make "almost a new global brand"
16 February 2012

Opel-Vauxhall has begun forming closer ties with GM’s American-Chinese Buick marque to create “almost a new global brand”, according to CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke.

The German-British group’s role in the global strategy of parent GM has been redefined, Stracke says. Opel-Vauxhall is to become a “regional brand exporter”, concentrating on fast-expanding markets like Russia and China, positioning its cars above those of Chevrolet, and embracing Buick.

“Opel is not so used to selling premium-like products,” says Stracke, “but we have made a start with the Insignia. We also have begun improving our dealers and customer services, but it is a long journey.”

Stracke batted away suggestions that Detroit might once again be interested in selling GM Europe, something it came close to doing in 2009, to concentrate on marketing its affordable Korean-built Chevrolet models in greater volumes around the world.

He insisted the group strategy for Opel-Vauxhall was “now very clear” and “nicely knitted into the overall strategy”. Detroit bosses want success for GM Europe, he said, and “are only there to help”.

But within 24 hours of Stracke’s reassurances, the Wall Street Journal revealed that GM chiefs were again considering swingeing cuts to their European operations, including the closure of plants at Ellesmere Port and Bochum. Just over a year ago they closed Antwerp, shed 8300 jobs and convinced unions to instigate savings of more than £200 million a year until 2014.

Stracke believes Opel-Vauxhall makes a natural partner for Buick in the GM fold, citing the Insignia-related Buick Regal and forthcoming Opel-Vauxhall Mokka baby SUV (shown this year at Detroit with Buick badges) as examples of a co-operation that will see them “sharing as much as possible”.

Steve Cropley

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Comments
21

16 February 2012

Almost a new brand? is that the same as almost a virgin and almost a teetotaller. Yet another planned rearrangment of GM Europe which only seems to emphasise the fact that the parent company still cannot decide to do what is best for the European arm although we still get the feeling that it would like to have Chevrolet as its brand.

16 February 2012

The big question is who is going to take the lead on design and engineering, the Americans or the Germans? This smacks of the Americans taking everything back in house and taking the control away from Europe.

Even though most of Buicks line ups are re-engineered Opel models, I can't see an overall (almost) global brand being allowed to be lead by Europe.

Personally, I am not sure this is going to produce the desired results for Vauxhall / Opel and it could land them and GM in even bigger trouble.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

507

16 February 2012

The Insignia equals premium? At least they have a sense of humour! The Opel employees won´t be laughing for long though! Read the FAZ analyses of the Opel subsidies and debts!

16 February 2012

[quote 507]The Insignia equals premium? At least they have a sense of humour![/quote]

Why not? It doesn't look any less 'premium' than a 3-Series or A4, has an interior with perceived quality up with those cars, so why not?

Oh yes, the badge. Not everybody is a badge snob, though.

16 February 2012

Insignia is a perfectly good car - premium maybe not but I would take one over a audi or bmw - quite simply price - its cheape to maintain, buy, probably pay a bit more tax and fuel costs - but its more comfortable on a long motorway run than alot of cars - and the vxr version on 20 inch wheels rides a lot better than the m sport bmw's and audi s-lines.

16 February 2012

[quote Lee23404]

[quote 507]The Insignia equals premium? At least they have a sense of humour![/quote]

Why not? It doesn't look any less 'premium' than a 3-Series or A4, has an interior with perceived quality up with those cars, so why not?

Oh yes, the badge. Not everybody is a badge snob, though.

[/quote]

What exactly is premium anyway? Does it mean soft touch plastics and doors that go "thunk"? If so, then Vauxhall is pretty much there. Does it mean it's well engineered (aside from the interior) and will last longer than average? If so, then Vauxhall can forget it!

16 February 2012

Opels in the US used to be sold by Buick dealers, used to be called "Opel by Buick" or something similar.

Saturn used to be their captive import brand.

Does it mean we could get the LaCrosse as a proper Omega successor?

16 February 2012

The strategy makes sense: Chevrolet/Daewoo as the entry-level brand, and Opel/Vauxhall/Buick/Holden as the next step up.

Opel and Vauxhall don't have a lot of choice. GM is determined to roll Chevrolet out around the world as its global entry-level brand, so they can only position themselves above Chevy and concentrate on providing a superior experience in every way.

16 February 2012

Read an article yesterday in the mag everybody apparently hates ,that there will be Vauxhall Senator coming along based on one of Buicks cast off's?

Peter Cavellini.

16 February 2012

[quote Oilburner]What exactly is premium anyway? Does it mean soft touch plastics and doors that go "thunk"? If so, then Vauxhall is pretty much there. Does it mean it's well engineered (aside from the interior) and will last longer than average? If so, then Vauxhall can forget it!

[/quote]

I quite like the Insignia but if you have evidence that the Insignia lasts less than/same as the average I'd be intrigued to hear it?

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

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