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Opel Aiming For Number 2 In Europe: 27 New Models, 17 New Engines By 2018 Photo:
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Mike Stevens | Jun, 05 2014 | 1 Comment

Opel has confirmed plans this week to launch 27 new models and 17 new engines by 2018.

The announcement comes nearly two years after the GM-owned German carmaker revealed its ‘Drive!2022’ plan, which promised 23 new models and 13 engines by the end of 2016.

The plan, which would include variants within model and engine lines, is part of a push to increase Opel and Vauxhall market share in Europe from 5.8 to eight percent by 2022.

That share could make Opel the second-largest carmaker in Europe, supplanting PSA Peugeot Citroen and moving closer to Volkswagen’s 12.9 percent share. (Volkswagen is also the second-largest carmaker in the world, behind Toyota.)

Opel will go head-to-head with Renault in the fight for second place, which is working to overtake PSA by 2017.

For now, Opel is running at a loss, but the company believes it could break even before 2016 and raise its operating return on sales to five percent by 2022.

In April last year, Opel parent GM pledged to invest around $5 billion in new Opel models.

Opel’s next-generation models will again utilise global GM technologies, sharing development costs with Buick - the latter focusing on the United States and China, where the American brand remains popular.

"To be really profitable you need to use a global platform," CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann told press this week.

He said that Opel has suffered from a “management disruption” which has brought changes in direction - including a potential sale in 2009 - and robbed the brand of new small cars which are a popular segment in Europe.

The company will resolve the latter issue in the coming year when it launches all-new Astra and Corsa hatches, replacing the six- and eight-year old current-generation models.

The current Astra and Insignia models will return to Australia in 2015 with Holden badges, and it is expected that Opel will continue to build models for Holden into the next generation.

As for the brand’s positioning, Neumann said that Opel will continue to focus on an image of value-for-money German engineering while offering more upmarket interiors than before.

Neumann added that the company will avoid the large-car segment but may develop more SUV models to join the compact Mokka and replace the Antara (sold in Australia as the Holden Captiva 5).

"We're careful now with new investment and are trying to understand and monitor the situation as it develops," Neumann told press.

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