Opel is aiming to increase its sales volume in China sixfold to offset the effect of the dwindling European market, chief executive Karl-Friedrich Stracke told Handelsblatt in an interview. According to Stracke, the company sold around 5,000 vehicles in China in 2011, and aims to reach sales of around 30,000 cars.
The chief executive said that Opel wants to improve its 2011 sales step by step to “ten, twenty or thirty thousand.” The company’s 30,000 sales target seems like a small figure compared to around 2.55 million vehicles that its parent General Motors sold in China in 2011. Stracke also said in the interview with Handelsblatt that Opel is also eyeing Australia as a new market, and the company plans to start selling cars in the country in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Local labour union and leaders have been asking Opel’s management to seek opportunities for exporting, since the brand is relying only on the weakening European market, which has shrunk for the fifth year in a row. Opel and British sister brand Vauxhall sold more than 1.21 million vehicles in Europe, including Russia and Turkey, in 2011.
Stracke, meanwhile, wrote off estimates that Opel and Vauxhall posted combined losses of around $14 billion in the past ten years. Opel chief executive said the figure is not correct, since it pertains to GM Europe, which included collapsed carmaker Saab. Stracke added that the figure also includes GM component plant in Strasbourg.