Finally free of years of mismanagement at the hands of General Motors, Opel has the potential to thrive under the stewardship of new owner PSA Group.
In its new PACE! strategy announced on Thursday, Opel will address the complexities and inefficiencies that have led to almost two decades of losses by slashing the number of platforms from a current nine to just two by 2024. Opel is also targeting 20 new export markets by 2022. (Under GM’s watch, Opel was limited to Europe and Russia.)
The transition will take place quickly as under its sale agreement Opel can’t sell vehicles based on GM platforms in markets where GM brands operate. PSA Group also has to pay GM royalties for use of its platforms in Opel cars. That’s why we’ll see Opel quickly introduce new models based on PSA Group platforms, specifically the CMP platform for subcompact cars and EMP2 for compact and mid-size cars. One, Opel, the Crossland X, is already based on a PSA Group platform.
The transition is also vital to Opel meeting CO2 emission targets set by the European Union for 2020-2021, Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller revealed on Thursday.
“We quickly came to the conclusion that Opel was not ready to reach the CO2 targets set by the EU for 2020-2021,” he said.
Also on Thursday, we got a glimpse of the new design direction Opel will take under the watch of PSA Group. The glimpse came in the form of a teaser depicting a SUV that Opel says hints at the future for the brand.
It’s not clear if the SUV is a concept or a production model though there are suggestions it could be a new mid-size SUV related to the EMP2-based Peugeot 5008 introduced in 2017.
Interestingly, the streamlined design and almost non-existent grille may hint at the possibility we’re looking at an electric offering. In its PACE! strategy, Opel said its entire lineup offered in Europe will be electrified by 2024, with some of the cars to be available with pure electric powertrains.
Sadly, there’s no word on whether Opel will reach the United States, though we do know PSA Group has a long-term plan to sell cars here.