Europe: Opel seeks to lure in certain company drivers to new Astra image

The German automaker will position its new generation of the compact Astra towards the so-called “user-chooser” company car drivers in Germany and other European markets to increase sales of a key model.

The compact car is key for the company’s strive to return to profitability and the automaker has designed a tax-friendly “Business” package with certain drivers in mind – those from companies that allow their employees to select their company car – the so-called “user-choosers”. “We have a relatively high number of private customers for the Astra five-door hatchback but we are below average in the company car market,” commented Michael Walter, Astra product marketing chief, during a press event. “We want to sell a lot more there and at least be above average in the future.” Higher-volume company sales to fleets are traditionally low profit yields as the firms will opt for heavy discounts – but the “user-choosers” is a different breed of company buyers in Germany because of the way the country taxes them. The most affordable “Business” package will start in Germany from 17,300 euros, 40 euros above the list price for the model at home.

Private buyers have not been forgotten, with Opel aiming to increase its market share in the segment though overall it’s on a decline. Company car sales in Germany during the first six months of the year surged 8.6 percent and had their best level for any month in June, data from analysts Dataforce, while private deliveries dropped 0.9 percent during the same period. The trend was enough to have Astra sales grow 7 percent to 26,526 units during the first half of the year, according to data from the German Federal Transport Authority (KBA). But by comparison, the Volkswagen Golf, Germany’s best-selling compact car, jumped 19 percent to 136,235 autos during the same period.

Via Automotive News Europe