Kevin Wale, General Motors Co.’s head of China operations, said that Opel’s sales in China will get a 10% boost this year but will continue to be a niche brand in China, the largest auto market in the world. In an interview with Automotive News Europe, Wale said that in 2011, Opel sold 5,000 units in China. It expects to have sales of around 5,500 this year. He said that Opel will grow together with the market.
Three Opel models are sold in China: the Astra compact, Zafira large minivan and Antara SUV. For 2012, Opel will start selling the Insignia Sports Tourer station wagon and the Zafira Tourer minivan in China. Wale didn’t provide the launch dates. Wale added that Opel has yet to decide if the Meriva small minivan will be offered in China.
Wale added that GM doesn’t plan to assemble Opel models in China anytime soon. It also will not raise the number of dealers that offer Opel models. GM also doesn’t plan to increase the number of dealers from 50.
GM presently has over 2,700 dealers in China. Wale said that the brand’s success comes from Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, Wuling and the recently established Baojun brand. Opel plans to be successful in Europe once again. GM and its China joint ventures increased year-on-year sales in the country by 8.3% in 2011 to a record 2.55 million. [source: Bloomberg]