If you’re a curious soul like me, you’d have stumbled across the opel.co.nz website a few days ago, and realized that was the German brand being teased to press, something that was officially announced today to New Zealand motoring journalists.
The clue wasn’t so much in the ‘modern German’ mention in the teaser, but from a speech made by Dr Karl-Thomas Neumann, Opel’s boss in 2017, when he said the acquisition of Opel by PSA would allow the brand to go global. Since then I’ve been waiting, especially as there was still plenty of goodwill for the Astra nameplate that adorned Holden products in this market for decades, and was last seen in 2020.
The timing, as Opel New Zealand general manager Tom Ruddenklau noted in a briefing this morning, couldn’t have been better.
Opel hits the New Zealand market with electrified versions of every model, and even those with petrol engines have carbon dioxide emissions of below 146 g/km, meaning 100 per cent of the upcoming range qualifies for the New Zealand government’s Clean Car discount programme that kicks in during April.
Opel can already boast a dealer network which will be announced shortly.
The line-up is very competitive: Corsa, Mokka and Grandland begin the assault, with the Astra slated for January 2023.
Corsa and Mokka make plenty of sense as stylish B-segment entries targeting Opel’s urban audience, who wish to be environmentally friendly, but feel most of the electrified product to be outside their reach. Opel will also announce its new-car ownership programme which it equates to buying a phone, with fixed repayments and no deposit.
Grandland is targeted at the heart of the C-segment crossover market, where it will be one of the few, if not the only, model line in the New Zealand market to qualify for the Clean Car rebates.
All models are based on PSA platforms.
Opel commercials are a bit further down the track—Ruddenklau suggests 2024—which means Kiwis will finally see a proper successor to the old Opel Corsa C-based Holden Combo which did reasonably good business for GM in the 1990s. Opel also notes on its website that the facelifted Crossland and Combo Life will come to New Zealand.
Jack Yan is founder and publisher of Lucire.