Only a year after launching sales in the country Opel is pulling back from the Australian market but says it will continue its search for new businesses outside the European area.
Opel said it will wind down its sales network in Australia “immediately”, as the GM brand pointed to the tough competition and the high cost of building brand awareness as the main reasons it will end sales in the market. Last August, the German brand started selling Corsa, Astra and Insignia in Australia. Still, GM’s Australia-based Holden brand could sell rebranded Opel cars in the future.
Meanwhile, Opel aims to gain new markets outside Europe in an effort to reduce excess factory capacity and cut losses from the shrinking European sales. GM’s European operations, which comprise Opel and UK sister brand Vauxhall, have lost $18 billion (13.6 billion euros) since 1999, including $1.8 billion last year.
In 2012 Opel began selling cars in Chile and Singapore, besides the already mentioned Australia, while the company also secured a foothold in the United Arab Emirates this year with a showroom in Dubai. Also, it returned to the Shanghai auto Show after a five-year long hiatus, but GM CEO Dan Akerson told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag that China was now not a priority – exposure there could cost Opel “hundreds of millions of euros.”
Currently Opel sells on the Chinese market some models – Insignia, Astra, Zafira Tourer and Antara; and Akerson announced back in June more rebadged Opels would be sold as Buicks in both US and China.