Mike Stevens | Aug 31, 2010

Australian buyers lamenting Holden's switch from Opel to Daewoo for its small and light cars in recent years may soon have cause for cheer. Reports out of Europe this week suggest that Opel is looking to expand into the Chinese, South American and Australian markets.

Until the retirement of the Astra and Vectra from the Australian market, Holden's relationship with Opel had stretched back to the first-generation Commodore, formed from an amalgamation of Opel's Rekord and Senator.

In 2005, Holden replaced the Opel-sourced Barina with a version of the Daewoo Kalos, while the arrival of the Viva signaled the eventual end of the Astra in Australia.

In 2007, Holden replaced the Vectra - the last of its Opel-sourced offerings - with the Epica, and in 2009 the 'global' Cruze was launched, quashing hopes that the all-new Opel Astra would make its way to Australia.

Speaking with Germany's Deutsche Welle paper, Opel spokesperson Andrea Kroemer is reported to have confirmed the GM-owned carmaker's international plans, with the Chinese and Australian markets apparently topping the schedule, to be followed by markets in South America and the Asia-Pacific region.

Opel's international expansion is likely driven by GM's decision to keep the ailing carmaker, reversing its plans last year to offload the German brand and its British counterpart, Vauxhall.

Whether Opel can survive in the small cut-throat Australian market remains to be seen, with even the Volkswagen-owned Skoda brand struggling to make headway despite its overall excellent range (click to read TMR's reviews of the current Skoda line-up).

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