Opel, General Motors’ bleeding European unit, will try to counter its loss-making ways in the region by exporting its products to Russia and Turkey, GM chief executive Dan Akerson told Bild am Sonntag. Akerson told the German daily that Russia is of “great importance” for Opel. GM’s top honcho remarked that in the next few years, the vehicle market in Russia could become bigger than the one in Germany.
Opel chief executive Karl-Thomas Neumann said that the brand is growing almost twice as fast as the Russian market with sales of over 80,000 in 2013. Neumann told Bild am Sonntag in the same interview that Russian consumers consider Opel to be a "quintessentially German brand" in Russia, regarding it as a near-premium brand.
Neumann told the German daily that they expect a similar development in Turkey, where they predict to sell around 50,000 Opels a year. He remarked that Opel will continue its export campaign after penetrating markets in Australia, Chile and Singapore in 2012 and the United Arab Emirates this year.
Neumann, however, said that Opel will steer clear of China as further exposure in the Asian country would cost the GM unit "hundreds of millions of euros," noting that the brand has other priorities. Neumann said that Opel’s vehicles offer the same quality as those of the Volkswagen brand’s, but are less expensive than its rival. He said that they aim to enhance Opel’s brand and models to entice customers to pay more money.
Akerson, on the other hand, is very optimistic of Opel's future. He noted that the European market is very important for GM since it is larger than the North America. He remarked that GM will not leave the European market to the competition. He further noted that GM's investment of an average of EUR1 billion annually in Opel over the next three years shows the carmaker’s "crystal clear" commitment to the brand. He expressed confidence that Opel will make a profit again even in a declining market.