GM to withdraw Opel brand

New Delhi, Kolkata, March 22 | Updated: Mar 23 2006, 05:30am hrs
Ten years after foraying into India with Opel Astra in 1996, General Motors India has decided to withdrawits maiden brand--Opel--from the Indian market.

The company intends to focus onChevrolet--its mass market brand around the world. Chevrolet isnot only General Motors' fastest growing brand in Asia Pacific but is also the world's largest brand by cumulative sales.

GM India'sOpel Astra launch was followedby Opel Vectra, both of which were subsequently withdrawn. Currently, it sells only Corsa under theOpel brand in India.

GMI vice-president (marketing) Ankush Arora said that the company has already stopped production of Opel Corsa. Apart from the sedan, the Corsa was available in station wagon versions called Sail and Swing.

Following the launch of the Chevrolet brand a couple of years ago, sales of the Opel brand had beenplummeting. In the current financial year, GMI has sold 7,518 unitsofCorsas as opposed to 10,248 units in 2004-05. However, at the same time the sales of the Chevrolet models Optra and Tavera have made up for the fall in the Opel marquee sales. For the comparable period, the Chevrolet models sold 18,394 units as against 13,278 units in 2004-05.

Win Some, Lose Some
Chevrolet is GM's fastest growing brand in the Asia-Pacific
Opel Corsa sales have fallen by 26% this fiscal
Co to launch Aveo hatchback and Sports Optra later this year
GM has gained a lot from selling Chevrolet cars in markets like India, China and Thailand. This has helped this brand to become one of the fastest growing brands in this region. The company hopes to ride on the Chevy brand to sell 50,000 units in 2006, as against 30,837 units in 2005. GMIhas unveiled three new models that it will launch during the course of the year. Of these, it has already launched the Aveo sedan. The other two models the hatchback version of the Aveo and the sports version of the Optra are slated to hit the market later this year. Mr Arora said GMI hoped to sell around 20,000 units of the Aveo in 2006.