Opel aims to increase its market share to over 10% in Germany

Article by Christian A., on June 7, 2012

After having survived a very bad sales drought in Germany, Opel is now preparing to increase its market share to over 10% with the aid of new models like the Mokka SUV and Adam minicar, according to Imelda Labbe, Opel’s sales chief for Germany. Opel is General Motors' European unit. Labbe said that with the upcoming models, Opel will be able to enter new segments, enabling it to increase its market share by more than 10% in the mid to long term.

Opel needs to achieve higher sales. The KBA federal transport agency said that Opel’s registrations have fallen by 11% in May to slightly higher than 23,000 in a total market that dropped by 4.8%.

The five-month registrations have fallen by almost 10% to 96,400. Labbe thinks that the downward trend has come to a stop. He said that May was a “good month” with an increase in market share to 7.9%.

She believes that the improvements will continue. With the decline from Opel’s market share in 2005 from more than 10%, the company kept on losing profits. The German market is dominated by the Volkswagen brand with a 22% share.

Opel is outperformed by all the German premium carmakers with BMW having a 9.9% share last month, Mercedes getting 9.2% and Audi with 8.8%. Opel won two of the past four European Car of the Year awards.

Its Insignia won in 2009 while the Ampera won in 2012. However, Opel wasn’t able to get rid of its working class image in Germany and had failed to shift upmarket to where damaging incentive rivalries aren’t as common. What made its image worse are speculations that GM would either sell it or let it enter a controlled bankruptcy set-up.

There have been a number of emission-free electric cars already released but what makes the innovative Ampera from Opel distinct from the rest is that it will be the first such vehicle in Europe to be practical for a daily drive. This is mainly due to the Voltec electric propulsion system which is able to deliver a more energetic acceleration plus refinement that is clearly on a different level.

No matter what the speed or the time is, the Ampera is driven by electricity. For trips that take a maximum of 60 km (MVEG), it is the lithium-ion battery (16 kWh) that provides the electricity needed for the power.

That being said, when driving on pure electricity, CO2 emissions are zero. However should the energy in the battery ever be depleted, the system immediately shifts to the E85/gas-fueled engine-generator. It not only provides the necessary electricity but makes sure that the battery’s charge is sustained. Under this configuration, the Ampera can go an additional 500 kilometers.

Thus, compared to standard battery-electric vehicles, the Ampera is able to remove any of the so-called range anxiety that EV drivers have and give them the needed peace of mind and confidence that they will not be stranded due to a battery with depleted energy. Further, it is easy to recharge the battery since all that is needed is your typical 230-volt outlet in the house.

Chief Engineer and Global Vehicle Line Executive Frank Weber shared that electric driving should not mean focusing solely on ecology but it must also be something that is fun. With a peak torque of 370 Nm, he added, driving the new Ampera feels as if you are flying. The Opel Ampera can seat a total of four passengers.

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Topics: opel, germany

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