Opel auto news

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Opel CEO talks new EV, will likely be fresh face for Chevy, too

07/24/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: EV/Plug-in, Chevrolet, Opel

Opel Ampera

The rumored demise of the Opel Ampera has been confirmed, but there's good news, too. Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann has been busy Tweeting information about the brand's next plug-in vehicle, admitting that the Ampera is on the way out but that plug-in vehicles are here to stay. His Tweets, in full, read:

After the eventual run-out of the current generation Ampera, we'll introduce a successor product in the electric vehicle segment. Our next electric vehicle will be part of our massive product offensive - with 27 new vehicles in the 2014-2018 time frame. We see eMobility as important part of the mobility of tomorrow and we will continue to drive down costs & deliver affordability.

As we learned earlier this week, the Ampera will not be refreshed when the current Chevy Volt is updated, most likely because of slow sales. Opel sold just 332 Amperas in the first five months of 2014. For now, General Motors is still building Amperas in Michigan for export to Europe.

So, what might this new EV mean for the General Motors plug-in fleet? Official spokespeople are being quiet, but we think it's safe to say the new EV Neumann is talking about is not simply a rebadged Chevy Spark EV. This is the first official word about an entirely new EV, and we expect it will come to both the Chevrolet and Opel brands.

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Opel dropping Ampera, the European Chevy Volt, because of weak sales

07/22/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: EV/Plug-in, Hybrid, Opel

Opel Ampera

Sales of the Chevy Volt in the US have been fairly stable for the last few months (between a low of 1,478 and a high of 1,777 since March), but in Europe, the Opel Ampera (sister-vehicle of the Volt) has been trending downwards. The sales decline is prompting discussion that the vehicle will be killed off in Europe, according to Automotive News Europe.

The car was a relative hit back in 2012, when it was named the European Car Of The Year and sales topped 5,200 units. Compared to 2012 numbers, which were good, Ampera sales dropped 40 percent to fewer than 3,200 in 2013 despite a massive price cut. They are down another 67 percent so far in 2014 and the car has sold just 332 units through the end of May. That's why, according to ANE, the Ampera will be discontinued once Chevy introduces the 2016 Volt in late 2015 (we've got spy shots here). The current Volt and the the Ampera are identical except for the front fascia, and it doesn't make sense to rebadge the new Volt for Opel if they're not even selling a thousand copies per year.

As far as an official word on the company's plans, Opel's Andrew Marshall told AutoblogGreen that the only thing the company is saying right now is that, "We do not comment on potential future product plans." That's vague, sure, but it's also not a resounding vote of confidence for the European Volt. Of course, GM's manager of Electrification Technology Communications, Kevin Kelly, told AutoblogGreen the same thing about the Volt's future when we asked about it based on the Ampera rumors, so we should probably just admit that no one's saying anything official about anything just yet.

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Opel launches new Corsa hatchback [w/videos]

07/10/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Economy, Euro, Paris Motor Show, Hatchbacks, Opel, Vauxhall, UK

2015 Opel Corsa

Though its brand portfolio may have shrunk in recent years with the loss of Oldsmobile, Saturn, Pontiac and Hummer, General Motors still sells its wares around the world under a wide array of brands: Chevy, Buick, Cadillac and GMC in its home market, Holden in Australia, and a whole mess of joint-venture brands in China. In Europe, however, it's all about Opel, with Vauxhall tackling the UK market with a nearly identical product lineup but a different badge. And it's those two brands through which GM has just revealed its new Euro-centric hatchback.

Representing the fifth-generation model for Opel and the fourth for Vauxhall (which badged the first-gen model as a Nova) is this new Corsa, replacing a now eight-year-old model. Set to be revealed at the Paris Motor Show in October, the Corsa represents GM's assault at the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo in the European market and slots into both brands' lineups in between the smaller Adam and the larger Astra.

It's based on a heavily revised version of the GM-Fiat Small platform that underpinned the model it replaces, not to mention a variety of other products from Opel, Vauxhall, Fiat and Alfa Romeo. Power options center around a new 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine that uses a balance shaft (unique among three-cylinder engines) to reduce noise, vibration and harshness, as well as a turbocharger, direct injection and stop/start ignition to maximize output and efficiency. It'll be available in either 90- or 115-horsepower guises, and is joined by a 1.2- and 1.4-liter fours as well as a 1.3-lier diesel. Buyers will also be able to choose between three- and five-door body-styles, with design cues obviously borrowed from the more stylish Adam city car.

As the latest product from one of the world's largest automakers, the new Corsa also naturally benefits from the latest technologies inside the cabin and under the hood, details of which you can delve into in the pair of press releases under the videos below.

Continue reading Opel launches new Corsa hatchback [w/videos]

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Opel launch new Corsa hatchback [w/videos]

07/10/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Economy, Euro, Paris Motor Show, Hatchbacks, Opel, Vauxhall, UK

2015 Opel Corsa

Though its brand portfolio may have shrunk in recent years with the loss of Oldsmobile, Saturn, Pontiac and Hummer, General Motors still sells its wares around the world under a wide array of brands: Chevy, Buick, Cadillac and GMC in its home market, Holden in Australia, and a whole mess of joint-venture brands in China. In Europe, however, it's all about Opel, with Vauxhall tackling the UK market with a nearly identical product lineup but a different badge. And it's those two brands through which GM has just revealed its new Euro-centric hatchback.

Representing the fifth-generation model for Opel and the fourth for Vauxhall (which badged the first-gen model as a Nova) is this new Corsa, replacing a now eight-year-old model. Set to be revealed at the Paris Motor Show in October, the Corsa represents GM's assault at the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo in the European market and slots into both brands' lineups in between the smaller Adam and the larger Astra.

It's based on a heavily revised version of the GM-Fiat Small platform that underpinned the model it replaces, not to mention a variety of other products from Opel, Vauxhall, Fiat and Alfa Romeo. Power options center around a new 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine that uses a balance shaft (unique among three-cylinder engines) to reduce noise, vibration and harshness, as well as a turbocharger, direct injection and stop/start ignition to maximize output and efficiency. It'll be available in either 90- or 115-horsepower guises, and is joined by a 1.2- and 1.4-liter fours as well as a 1.3-lier diesel. Buyers will also be able to choose between three- and five-door body-styles, with design cues obviously borrowed from the more stylish Adam city car.

As the latest product from one of the world's largest automakers, the new Corsa also naturally benefits from the latest technologies inside the cabin and under the hood, details of which you can delve into in the pair of press releases under the videos below.

Continue reading Opel launch new Corsa hatchback [w/videos]

Read more..

Opel could break even next year

04/15/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Euro, Earnings/Financials, Opel

Opel beginnt Serien-Produktion des Kleinwagens Adam

How things change. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Opel might just break even next year. This is kind of a big deal, largely because Opel has been arguably the most troubled branch both in General Motors' portfolio and in all of Europe.

The report claims that Opel could be back in the black before 2016, thanks to the arrival of Karl-Thomas Neumann from Volkswagen, not to mention a massive, $6 billion investment that will lead to nearly two dozen new models in the next few years. Sales climbed for both Opel and Vauxhall by three percent in the first two months of 2014, according to WSJ, indicating that the renewed focus on product might be working.

"If everything goes well, theoretically [profits] can't be ruled out," Neumann told WSJ.

Opel's has seen success with the Adam city car and the Mokka (known to American audiences as the hot-selling Buick Encore), not to mention fresh, stylish versions of the Insignia (Buick Regal) and the Astra and Corsa small cars.

There has also been some cleverness to the markets Opel is targeting, which is encouraging. It recently pulled out of both Australia and China, suffering from low sales in both markets. But it seems that rather than a desperate retreat, these were more strategic withdrawals. According to Neumann, Russia and Turkey are Opel's two best chances for growth.

"Now Opel has a great strategy for China is what a lot of people thought, " Neumann told WSJ. "As GM, we are still bullish about China. But for Opel it is just a fact that our resources are better used somewhere else."

Based on statements like that, we're thinking the future is rather bright for the Russelsheim outfit.

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GM investing $449 million in next-gen electrification

04/09/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Hybrids/Alternative, Plants/Manufacturing, Tech, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GM, Opel, Electric

GM Detroit-Hamtramck Factory

It has been a rough couple of weeks for General Motors with the constant scrutiny on its recalls in the public eye, but the company is trying to move forward. This week, it announced a $449 million investment into its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly and Brownstown Battery Assembly plants. Part of the money is going into upgrades that allow for the next-generation Chevrolet Volt to be built.

The expenditure includes $384 million for Detroit-Hamtramck that already builds the Volt, Malibu, Impala, Cadillac ELR and Opel Ampera. It's getting new body shop tooling, equipment and upgrades to build the next-generation Volt and two other future, unrevealed vehicles. "These investments will help the next-generation Chevrolet Volt build on its position as the leader in electrified propulsion," said Gerald Johnson, GM North America Manufacturing vice president, in the company's statement.

The other $65 million is going to Brownstown, which makes the lithium-ion battery packs for many of GM's electrified vehicles. The new funding is being put towards production of the company's next-generation of lithium-ion batteries and future battery systems.

GM is remaining tight-lipped about when the investments into the plants are beginning. "We have no timeline at the moment [for the upgrades]," said GM spokesperson for the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, Dave Darovitz, to Autoblog. He also couldn't give us any further info on the next-gen Volt or the other two new vehicles being built there. Scroll down to read more about the investment.

Continue reading GM investing $449 million in next-gen electrification

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Opel to be shuttered in China, but will restart Buick production in Germany

03/29/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Euro, Plants/Manufacturing, Buick, Opel

Germany GM Opel

Opel, General Motors' troubled German brand continues its quest to reinvent itself and find solid profitability. In the course of that metamorphosis, the company has a bit of good news/bad news today. The good news is, it will once again begin screwing together Buick models for the American market. The bad news, though, is that it's being shut down in yet another country, China.

Let's start with the good news. The last vehicle Opel's Ruesselsheim factory built for the North American market was the early run of the then-new Regal, which is based heavily on the Opel Insignia. Production ran for just over two years, from 2009 to 2011, before moving production to Oshawa, Ontario.

Now, thanks to a 245-million-euro investment (just over $336 million), Opel will kick off production of a unspecified model for the US in the "second half of the decade," according to Automotive News. According to Opel, the new model will be announced before the end of 2014. You can begin your speculation about this new model down in Comments (we're wagering it'll be the Cascada convertible, sold here under the Buick umbrella).

As for Opel's China presence going away, this one isn't a surprise. Opel sold just 4,365 cars in the PRC in 2013, while corporate cousin Buick sold 810,000. Considering the Middle Kingdom's much larger population, this is arguably an even bigger failure than the brand's collapse in Australia, where it sold just 1,530 cars over a 10-month span. Opel was doing so poorly, in fact, that it rebadged one of its most popular models, the Adam supermini, as a Buick.

"This is a long overdue decision," Opel's CEO, Karl-Thomas Neumann, said in a statement. "It would have cost hundreds of millions of euros to raise awareness of the Opel brand [in China] and to expand the distribution network."

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Opel putting Astra Extreme into production

03/11/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Euro, Hatchbacks, Opel, Vauxhall, UK

Opel Astra OPC Extreme

Even more than in years past, this month's Geneva Motor Show press days were absolutely teeming with lust-worthy hot hatches. There was the new Seat Leon Cupra, the Honda Civic Type R concept, Volkswagen Scirocco R and Golf GTE, Audi S1 and Abarth 695 Biposto. But one of the most enticing of them all was the Opel Astra OPC Extreme.

Effectively a roadgoing version of the Astra OPC Cup racer, the Extreme is a track car for the road that packs a 2.0-liter turbo four tuned up to 300 horsepower and little else - and by that we mean it's been all stripped out and geared up for hardcore performance.

We have to admit that we were a little bummed when General Motors stated that the Astra OPC Extreme was just for show at the moment. But word coming in from Autocar suggests that, based on positive public reception at the Swiss show, it has already been approved for production.

Production will reportedly be limited to between 50 and 300 examples, depending on demand. That apparently includes a right-hand-drive Vauxhall Astra VXR Extreme for the UK market. All we need now is for GM to bring it across the Atlantic to sell in US showrooms.

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Opel Meriva gets refreshed with more chrome and new diesel

03/07/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Geneva Motor Show, Hatchbacks, Opel, Diesel

The Opel Meriva at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, front three-quarter view

Opel's Meriva hatchback has received a slight refresh at the Geneva Motor Show with new styling and two tunes of a new 1.6-liter diesel engine. Its tech gets a slight upgrade as well with better smartphone integration for the infotainment system.

The Meriva still features its suicide opening doors that Opel claims makes ingress and egress from the rear easier. The refresh also gives the hatchback a grille with more chrome, slightly altered headlights, LED running lights and chrome trim along the bottom of the side windows.

The biggest changes for the Meriva are mechanical. Opel has added its new 1.6-liter CDTI diesel available with either 134 horsepower or 109 hp. The less powerful version emits 99 grams of CO2 per 100 kilometers, which allows it to take advantage of lower taxes in much of Europe. The model's five- and six-speed manuals have also been improved with a low friction material to make shifting easier.

Like many of the cars from Geneva, the Meriva is another vehicle that won't be sold here. Naturally, you can see and read all about this slightly less-desirable forbidden fruit, below.

Continue reading Opel Meriva gets refreshed with more chrome and new diesel

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Opel Adam S and Adam Rocks make us want GM's Euro city car even more [w/poll]

03/06/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Sports/GTs, Geneva Motor Show, Euro, Hatchbacks, Opel, Vauxhall, UK, Off-Road

Opel Adam S at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, front three-quarter view

There aren't a lot of products that General Motors offers overseas that we don't get back in America in one form or another, but the Opel Adam stands as a notable exception. GM's assault on the fashionable city car market, the Adam isn't likely to find its way to US showrooms... even if it does pick up a Buick badge on its way to China. But as if its elusive status didn't make us long for it already, Opel and its British counterpart Vauxhall just revealed two new versions in Geneva that make us want it even more.

First up we have the Adam Rocks, a variant of the stylish little hatchback that not only blows the roof off, but also gives it a beefier, off-road attitude. Up top it's got a similar opening roof panel to what you'd find on rivals like the Fiat 500C or Citroën DS3 Cabrio, but down below it's got more muscular body cladding, skid plates and 17- or 18-inch wheels fitted to a suspension that rides half an inch higher.

Taking a different approach to the same vehicle is the Adam S, which bolts a turbocharger onto the car's otherwise naturally aspirated 1.4-liter four to crank out 148 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque that puts it right in between the Fiat 500 Turbo and Abarth (which are sold as two stages of Abarth overseas) in terms of output. It's also got massive 16-inch brakes stuffed into 18-inch wheels, an upgraded aero kit and other sportier touches.

Both make the Opel Adam that much of a more tempting proposition, even if GM couldn't make the business case to bring it Stateside. But if it did, which would you choose?

View Poll

Continue reading Opel Adam S and Adam Rocks make us want GM's Euro city car even more [w/poll]

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