To prevent sales from dropping even further, Opel has become the highest discounter in Germany last month -- outdoing even Fiat S.p.A.
Trade publication Autohaus PulsSchlag revealed that Opel dealerships' discounts in May averaged 12.8% off the list price, undercutting the 12.4% savings from Fiat, which has long led in the incentives race in Germany. According to its monthly survey, the industry averaged rebates of 10.9%.
Even after rolling out a new version of its best-selling Astra compact, Opel sales still fell by 41% in Germany through May.
The drop was attributed to the uncertainty surrounding the brand. GM had been gearing up for an initial public offering but last week, GM decided to fund Opel's restructuring on its own when it failed to secure 1.8 billion euros ($2.2 billion) in aid from European countries.
Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Research at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, said that the Opel brand "was already weakened by quality issues" and had suffered some significant damage in the pursuit for aid that took 1.5 years.
Bratzel said that withdrawing the aid request gives Opel a "new beginning, but it will be a long road."
An Opel spokesman, Ulrich Weber, said that the survey, which is based on dealers' responses, doesn't represent Opel's sales activities. Weber explained that unlike its rivals, Opel didn't raise incentives or give special financing conditions. [via autonews]