What will Opel's future be? With the electric facelift of the Opel Corsa coming to market soon and the plan to sell only battery-powered cars in Europe from 2028, the brand already knows that it will base future models on the parent company's Stellantis platform.
Similar to the new Peugeot 3008, it is indeed likely that the Opel Vauxhall Grandland will also mount the STLA Medium architecture. But what will the brand's electric cars of tomorrow look like? Our colleagues from Motor1 and InsideEVs Germany talked about this and more with CEO Florian Huettl.
How is Opel doing?
'Very well. It is strong, electric and continues to grow. In September we recorded a +14 percent worldwide. And we are pleased that the growth is mainly coming from 100% battery electrics. We are selling 35% more BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) than last year.
We are one of the few manufacturers in Europe to have achieved a higher overall share in the full electric segment, which now accounts for 16% of the total market. The BEV trend is positive for Opel. We are reaping the benefits of the strategy that has been in place for several years. For example, we are bringing electric mobility to our customers with our multi-energy platforms in existing Opel models.
Can you already give a little preview of 2024? The recently presented Citroen e-C3 proves that e-mobility is possible even below a price tag of €25,000. Is it conceivable that Opel will adapt to this model?
"The affordability of electric vehicles is obviously a priority for us at Opel. We are working hard to make the purchase price more affordable and, for the future, we aim to reach the €25,000 threshold in the B-segment. But we are already working on demonstrating affordability to our customers and making electric mobility more accessible.
Financing instruments such as leasing are crucial for this. Today you can lease a new Opel Corsa Electric in Germany for €169 (approx. £150) per month: the same price as a Corsa with a combustion engine! In this way, we are advancing electric mobility and allowing our customers to enjoy electric driving on particularly attractive terms.
The fact is that motorists do not usually pay for electric vehicles in cash. In this sense, it is not so much the purchase price that is the decisive factor, but the way we meet customers' needs, with short and flexible financing. And we are already doing this very well.
Opel Manta-e in the official rendering of 2021.
In a way, we see Opel going back to its own history. The name Manta is being discussed for a new model.
"Opel has a rich and exciting tradition. Next year we will celebrate 125 years of car production. And if you look back in our history, you will find obviously many successful and exciting products. But we are not going retro. We have no intention of reissuing cars from the past. Rather, we take inspiration from the past to shape the future.
Some concrete examples: If you look at the Opel Corsa, Astra or Mokka, you will recognise the front end of the Manta A. But there is nothing retro about that; it is just an anchor to our history. This also applies to the Compass or the body lines and much more.
But if the SUV announced for the future were to be called Manta, aren't you afraid that customers would be disappointed with their idea?
'We have had many emotional products in the past. You refer to the Manta, one of the great European automotive icons with great emotional potential. Of course, we manage this heritage responsibly. What we try to implement in our products is to awaken the emotions of the past and represent them in the cars as well. We want people to recognise the connections with our icons of the past.
What matters is relevance for the present. For what the customer wants today. We try to pander to taste and expectations, to meet the customer's needs. We work on well-made products that carry the value of tradition and heritage and at the same time appeal to people who have never heard of our products from the past'.
Are other historical names also conceivable?
"Certainly, we have many historical names that have been very successful in their time. Think Opel GT, Ascona, Monza, Frontera, Calibra or Omega - a huge history. It is therefore very likely that we will see familiar names again in the future. Of course, only if we think they are relevant for our brand and our customers.