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Opel nameplate expanding beyond European markets

by Mark Kleis

Although General Motors has historically kept the Opel brand itself confined to the European theater, a new report suggests that it may soon move well beyond Europe.

Although the products developed by the Opel brand in Europe can be found in markets around the world, a la Buick, the Opel branded vehicles themselves have seen very little action outside of Europe.

Now General Motors hopes to use the strong product lineup of Opel to position the brand as a premium product in world markets, particularly in China, South America and Australia, according to Deutsche Welle in Germany.

In preparation for the expansion of Opel to China, the automaker tested the market with 4,000 sales last year. "We will market Opel as a European designed car in the premium segment," told Andreas Kroemer, Opel, to Deutsche Welle. "There are a growing number of Chinese who like European cars and have the money to afford them."

The move to China is particularly interesting, given the fact that GM has traditionally branded Opels as Buicks in other world markets, including China where Buick is very popular. At this time, it in unclear which Opel models GM will sell in China, and whether or not it will have overlap with re-badged Buick models or not.

In addition to Opel's expansion to China, the brand will also be brought to Australia, various markets in the Asia-Pacific and South American regions.

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