With new engines and dashboard instruments, GM’s Opel is trying to refresh and upgrade the mid-sized Insignia, in an effort to win back customers and uphold brand identity.
The model is the eighth in an 11-car line-up that the company has introduced or updated in the past three years in a strategy to counter consumer doubts about the division’s future since the aborted disposal in 2009.
Production of the revamped Insignia, Opel’s most expensive car with a starting price in Germany of 24,325 euros ($32,500) including sales tax, began August 22 at the plant at company headquarters in the Frankfurt suburb of Ruesselsheim.
“Opel has never had such great models as today in recent history, but the brand is burnt,” said Ralf Kalmbach, a Munich-based partner at Roland Berger consulting company. “Rebuilding of the brand is a key challenge and may take many years.”
GM’s European operations, consisting mainly of Opel and its U.K. sister brand Vauxhall, have lost more than $18 billion since 1999. The two nameplates’ annual western European deliveries fell by about half from that year until 2012, compared with an industrywide drop of 17 percent, and their market share narrowed to 6.7 percent from 10.9 percent, according to data from the ACEA regional automaker trade group.