Holden nameplates to return? Who goes along with the arrest of GMH’s Astra supplier and emerging electric car star, Opel, now that it’s hot ownership in Europe, UK and New Zealand (soon) – auto news

Opel suddenly became a hot property and that’s why.

Nine years after it was unceremoniously dumped in Australia by Holden after only 12 months on the market, and long forgotten by most consumers, Opel is now looming as a potential prize package for importers.

Enjoying huge success in both the electric vehicle (EV) sales force and the top 10 on the charts in Europe and the UK, the former General Motors brand and now a rising star of Stellantis grows on the power of a massively redesigned and modernized design—the electrified Corsa Supermini, the Mokka compact SUV. , the Astra compact sedan and the Grandland medium SUV.

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With the Corsa (which wears the Vauxhall brand) finally smashing Ford’s 50-year streak as the UK’s best-selling car maker last year (and potentially on top again in 2022), Opel is finally being taken seriously and is now Under evaluation for return to Australia.

This comes after Opel has set out to push the market on right-hand drive, including in South Africa last year and – as of July – in New Zealand with eight dealerships already announced.

But the question is: when the same will happen in Australia and who it will be – the Stellantis Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia entity already responsible for Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Abarth, Chrysler, Jeep and another marque or an independent importer who sees Opel as a new fit for a market that embraces electrification at an increasing rate?

Although no organization has publicly stated their interest in bringing the German brand back, speculation has been raging since the Stylantis announced that Opel would return to New Zealand.

FCA Australia Managing Director Kevin Flynn said: car guide At this month’s Jeep Grand Cherokee L launch, his organization is taking a “watch and watch” approach before deciding whether to reintroduce Opel to Australia.

“We think with the progress there in electricity and (New Zealand) government policies and so on, that’s probably the best place to go,” he said.

“I think that’s where we’ll focus, we’ll learn, and then we’ll see.”

“We’ll see” almost certainly refers to the changing political attitude toward electric vehicles in Australia as public interest swells in the face of the skyrocketing fuel prices that led to the federal election later this month. This could lead to more positive policies and targeted support for electric vehicles and related infrastructure in Australia.

It is the reinvention of Opel as a young and dynamic brand that embraces the electrification that underpins its remarkable rebirth abroad.

The latest Corsa F, Mokka B and Astra L models (the letters denoting how many generations there are) are already in place, while by 2024, the rest of the Opel range – including the upcoming Grandland B and successor to Insignia (formerly Holden ZB Commodore) – will follow suit. By 2028, Opel in Europe will be 100 percent of the battery electric.

But since FCA Australia is not alone in importing Stellantis into this country, other entities may be running around as potential competitors.

Although Subaru is its biggest vehicle asset from a size perspective, Inchcape Australia Limited (IAL) has owned the Peugeot, Citroen and DS franchises since 2017.

However, Chloe Fraser, IAL’s Director of Corporate Affairs and Public Relations, stated that the focus is on promoting other brands in Australia, with “…nothing on the cards for us (regarding Opel)”, so this is no easy feat. at present.

Another possibility for Opel’s return could be the Ateco Group, which owns the rights to the Stellantis RAM and Maserati brands.

“While nothing is happening now, everything is on the table,” according to spokesperson Oliver Bigham, referring to the company’s track record of launching and successfully building brands through its vehicle wholesale business to dealers.

Ateco helped fledgling Kia gain momentum from the 1990s until sales were good enough for the plant to take over in 2006. More recently, it also challenged tradition by adding Renault as an already established brand after plant distribution was discontinued early last year, with sales doubling in Australia. since then.

Opel, of course, has a long history with Australia, although most have served as the engineering basis for Holdens, beginning with the TX Gemini (1975), VB Commodore (1978) and JB Camira (1982), or the supplier of dozens of Holden-models. Badged starting with SB Barina (1994), the TR Astra series (1996) and JR Vectra (1997).

Although it had been under General Motors ownership since 1931, Opel was not launched in Australia as a stand-alone brand until August 1, 2012, ostensibly with Holden’s support but in reality, forced upon it by a careless Detroit, even against staunch opposition within Trails of Fisherman’s Bend.

With the Opel Astra and Insignia particularly competing against Adelaide-made Cruze and VE/VF Commodore at the time, Opel was seen as an unnecessary internal competitor and financial burden during a period of significant sales decline.

About 366 days later, after sales of barely 1,500 nationally, GM pulled the plug on Opel in Australia; Later in 2013, Holden followed Ford in announcing its upcoming exit from local manufacturing; In early 2017, after 18 years of staggering losses, Opel (along with Vauxhall) was sold to Groupe PSA (Peugeot Citroen); By the end of 2020, Holden is no longer around.

Opel’s transformation since the Groupe PSA acquisition has been remarkable, as it consolidated its financial strength in time to merge with US conglomerates Fiat and Chrysler, to form Stellantis in 2021.

Opel is on the way. Will a sequel in Australia as the vibrant electric brand and de facto successor to Holden be what buyers have been waiting for?

Tell us in the comments below, because you can count on CEOs from Stellantis, IAL, Ateco and elsewhere who will be eager to know what you think.

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