Opel CEO Nick Reilly said this week that the company would be raising exports to new markets in an effort help the GM subsidiary, with Insignia, Astra and Corsa models confirmed for shipment to Australia from 2012 and countries including Chile and Israel also targeted as export destinations. Other markets under consideration for the carmaker include Argentina, China, the Middle East and South Africa according to the company.
Speaking at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, Reilly said that the Australian launch was an important part of GM’s international expansion strategy.
“With its growing demand for German design and technology, the Australian car market is an excellent opportunity for Opel,” said Reilly. “Australian drivers have a strong affinity with Opel vehicles.”
GM said it was too early to discuss the export patterns but a spokesperson told Automotive Logistics News that as Holden, GM’s Australian division already handles vehicles from Europe to Australia, including the Combo van (produced in Zaragoza in Spain), the import routes are already established, adding “we would envisage expanding and enhancing these existing channels”.
Speculation that the export plans could also help Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant in the UK, which produces the Astra, was backed up by GM. A spokesperson said that, "as the Holden Astra was built by Ellesmere Port in the past, there is no reason why this should not happen again".
The plans could be a boost to Opel production in Europe, which is operating on reduced output with the closure of the Antwerp plant in Belgium and slimmed down production at the Bochum plant in Germany.