GM’s Opel to bring out hybrids in 5 years: CEO image

General Motors’ GM.UL European arm Opel will launch hybrid models within five years as part of a campaign to overhaul and freshen its product line, GM Europe head Nick Reilly told a German magazine.

Reilly said Opel would begin a push to bring out hybrid models, a strategy that the magazine said his predecessor, Carl-Peter Forster, had deemed too expensive.

“We will have hybrid engines in our programme, in the next five years, Reilly said. Its first electric car with range-extending technology — the Ampera — will hit the market at the end of 2011.

Reilly said Opel would get much more independence when it comes to developing vehicles. The next generation of the Corsa small car, for instance, will be developed in large part in Germany rather than in South Korea, which had been responsible.
He said the entry-level model Agila, now built in cooperation with Suzuki Motor (7269.T), would get a successor even though rival Volkswagen (VOWG.DE) was taking a stake in the Japanese carmaker.

“All existing projects with GM will be continued. I personally believe that there is room for two models in this segment: one that is positioned more practically than the Agila and another that comes from the sporty and lifestyle side and will be our future Mini.”

Opel will bring out a small SUV based on the Corsa in 2012/13, he said, adding the company was looking for a production site and South Korea was a “realistic option.”
The next generation Antara SUV will come by 2014 at the latest, while a replacement for the flagship Insignia will have to wait.