What do you see in the Opel logo? That's right, a lightning bolt. As the German automaker dramatically restructures its future plans, electric cars are in the core of Opel's survival.
With attempts to stop leaking money, Opel is speeding up its secession from GM technology, launching nine new models by 2020 with the aim to complete transition to PSA hardware by 2024, leaving only two Opel platforms. This is all part of Opel's freshly announced PACE turnaround plan, which is crucial for the company's survival, according to CEO Michael Lohscheller.
"PACE will unleash our full potential. This plan is paramount for the company, to protect our employees against headwinds and turn Opel/Vauxhall into a sustainable, profitable, electrified, and global company," says Lohscheller. Competitiveness will be improved by reducing per-car costs by 700 euros, and by cutting marketing costs by 10 percent. Regarding Vauxhall's future, the statement still includes the British brand.
When the Opel sale agreement was reached between PSA and GM in March, the plan was to start implementing PSA technology in 2019, completing the transition in eight years, as Automotive News says. The new business plan is noticeably faster. By 2020, with full access to PSA's electric tech, Opel would have a fully electric next-generation Corsa hatchback and a PHEV version of the Grandland X SUV, which is already based on Peugeot's 3008 model.
Currently, there are nine Opel platforms and 10 engine families. By 2024 there should be two platforms and four powertrains; the number of diesel engines in use remains to be seen, and all product lines would include an electrified model. There would be an SUV and a midsize vehicle based on PSA's EMP2 architecture, with the former built in Eisenach — formerly known as the town that built East German Wartburg cars before its Opel era — and the latter built in Rüsselsheim, where Opel HQ is located. The Rüsselsheim hub will become PSA's global "competence center," where all Opel/Vauxhall vehicles would be engineered — not Paris. Plans include avoiding any factory closures or personnel layoffs.
The PACE statement also mentions Opel's entrance to all of 20 new export markets, with a specific mention of China and Brazil, countries which have traditionally seen Opels sold as Chevrolets. Will the United States be included in that export plan? While current Regals are still very much "Buick Opels," it was decades ago when anything with an Opel badge was last sold in the USA.