GM mulls shifting large part of Opel Mokka output to Spain

Article by Anita Panait, on June 11, 2013

General Motors Co. is mulling shifting a large chunk of the current output of the Opel Mokka subcompact crossover from South Korea to Spain, according to a report by German daily Handelsblatt, citing sources privy to the carmaker. GM’s Opel unit has already disclosed it will build the next-generation Mokka in Europe and not in South Korea.

Over 100,000 Mokkas have been ordered since it was launched in Europe in October 2012. With growing demand for the crossover, Opel has been experiencing production bottlenecks for the model.

Shifting the output of the Mokka to Opel’s Zaragoza site in Spain could help fill the plant’s extra capacity and lower losses at the unit. The Zaragoza site currently builds the Corsa subcompact and Meriva small minivan models.

An Opel spokesman has remarked that GM was seeking for additional capacity to build subcompact sports utility vehicles.

On the hand, a spokesman for Chevrolet, Opel’s sister brand, has said they have no plans to transfer production of the Trax from South Korea. In March 2013, Opel disclosed it was reviewing whether other vehicle models could be produced in Europe and South Korea but said they have yet to decide on production locations.

The concerned models include the Antara medium SUV built in South Korea and the Agila small minivan produced in Europe.

Opel is hoping that the Mokka as well as its Cascada mid-size convertible could bring in more customers and help it plug years of financial bleeding. According to data from the researcher JATO Dynamics, Opel sold 5,313 Mokkas in 2012.

New Opel Mokka marks the introduction of the brand’s design philosophy -- "sculptural artistry with German precision" –into the sub-compact SUV segment. Its tight packaging hasn’t prevented the new Opel Mokka to boast of confident attitude through its elegant sculpted looks as fused with its sporty body lines. Its design and compact dimensions allow the new Mokka to have a solid appearance as well as muscular stance on the road. Of course, present are iconic design cues usually found in Opel vehicles.

Up front, the new Opel Mokka expresses its confidence through its pronounced front grille defined by a trademark chrome bar with the centrally located Opel lightning logo. This grille is flanked by Opel’s iconic headlamps that include daytime running lights with wing-shaped LED signature.

Meanwhile, the bonnet of the new Opel Mokka features several creases and a power dome-like element that furthers the compact SUV’s bold looks. The fog lamps as well as the bumper skirting are some of the elements that highlight the SUV attributes of the Mokka. The bumpers and wheel arches are hugged by protective cladding, as highlighted by the carmaker’s "blade" light catcher sweeping upwards on the sides to the rear – resulting to a flowing look. Higher trim models are provided with chrome window inserts and door handles.

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