In the European-American Stellantis group, Opel is only one of 14 car brands. A clear focus on electric drives should bring the German subsidiary forward.
The new Opel boss Florian Huettl expects higher sales this year. “It pays off that Opel relies entirely on electric drives,” said the manager at the Rüsselsheim headquarters of the German Press Agency. The compact model Astra will also contribute to this, which will be on sale for a whole year for the first time and will also be available to order in a fully electric version from spring.
Last year, the Stellantis subsidiary was not able to fully realize its potential due to the lack of parts, among other things. “Many customers are still waiting for their car,” said Huettl. “I’m sure that 2023 will be better in terms of component availability and logistics capacity.”
17 billion euros profit
In 2022, the only German brand in the Stellantis Group in Europe (EU, EFTA, UK) registered a good 428,000 new cars, a drop of 12 percent. According to the European car association Acea, the market share fell by 0.3 points to 3.8 percent.
The parent company Stellantis, which was merged from the manufacturers PSA and Fiat-Chrysler, presented strong figures on Wednesday despite slightly shrunken sales. With a record turnover of almost 180 billion euros, the second largest car group in Europe after Volkswagen made a bottom line profit of 17 billion euros.
Huettl does not provide any detailed information on the part played by the Opel-Vauxhall brand duo in this success. “Opel is consistently profitable and makes a significant contribution to the Group’s earnings.” In the meantime, the company is very satisfied with the German production sites in Eisenach and Rüsselsheim. The teams did a very good job. However, more work needs to be done on competitiveness. The German locations suffered, among other things, from very high energy costs.
New jobs in Kaiserslautern
Eisenach suffered particularly badly from the lack of parts last year, but delivered excellent quality despite all the adversities, said the Opel boss. A very constructive cooperation with the employee representatives also contributed to this. In Kaiserslautern, in addition to the previous parts plant, around 2,000 new jobs will be created in the battery cell factory planned by the joint venture ACC, which is scheduled to deliver from 2025.
The Opel main plant in Rüsselsheim has already mastered a major transformation and still has a long way to go, said Huettl. The decision to build the volume model Astra in all drive variants and the DS 4 in two-shift operation here is a great sign of trust. “Rüsselsheim is consistently busy.” In the future, batteries for other Stellantis plants will also be assembled on the Main.
Successor model for SUV Grandland planned
According to Opel, it intends to only offer fully electric cars in Europe from 2028. In the group, Opel is the most dynamic electric brand, said Huettl. The fact that two new plug-in hybrids are being introduced at the moment does not contradict this, because the combination of combustion engines and electric motors is an important transitional technology for many customers.
A successor model for the SUV Grandland built in Eisenach is being planned. The segment is extremely important in the European car market and certainly offers even more potential for Opel. In the middle of the decade, Opel wants to launch a reinterpretation of the former cult model Manta and before that a successor to the flagship Insignia, which will be discontinued in 2022.