Former General Motors division, Opel, is being studied for a possible return to Australia, with new owners Groupe PSA looking to expand the German brand’s global reach.
Groupe PSA, which also owns brands including Citroen, Peugeot, and DS Automobiles is investigating how Opel might fit into Australia’s already brimming new car landscape.
Operational director of the India-Pacific region of PSA, Emmanuel Delay, told TMR at the Australian launch of the Peugeot 5008 SUV that while the intention of the group is to make Opel a global brand a definitive schedule for an Australian return had yet to be locked down.
“When you look at Opel the reality is that Opel is primarily a European brand so I think it is probably adding to our capacity to become a truly global company but it is not a way to leapfrog our traditional strategic intent,” Delay said.
However, unlike the rest of the non-European world, Opel already has a presence in Australia with products like the Astra (above) and Insignia already sold here as part of the Holden range. An agreement that’s likely to change in the longer term now that Opel has been separated from the greater GM family.
Opel also briefly operated as a standalone brand during General Motors’ leadership, beginning in 2012 before hastily pulling out of the local market just one year and one day after starting operations here.
“I told one of your colleagues that we want to learn to walk before we can run. I think we have a lot on our plate and Inchcape have a lot on their plate to turn around Peugeot and Citroen and then we have the question of what do we do with DS? And then potentially do something with Opel.”
“It is not the first priority because it is to first have a successful turnaround with Peugeot and Citroen. But in parallel with that turn around we are definitely studying what to do with Opel for Australia.”
General Motors sold Opel to PSA in March 2017 to reduce its European presence but retained Holden for Australia. The local brand still sources its Astra hatch and wagon as well as the new Commodore (Insignia) from Opel and has a deal to continue with those models locally until the end of their current lifecycle, which will be approximately seven years.