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Sounds like "old news", but still intresting nonetheless. Can't read whole article though. Sorry!:eek:

Posted May 13th 2008 9:03AM by Chris Shunk
Filed under: Euro, Chevrolet, GM, Opel



Opel experienced an 8-percent sales dip in Europe in the first quarter, and designers at GM plan to give the storied German brand some of its mojo back by moving design and content upscale. GM says the move upmarket will result in a relatively inexpensive one- to three-percent price hike, but in return customers can expect sexier sheet metal, better packaging and more technology. The move makes sense as GM's value-conscious Chevy brand has steadily increased its presence across the Atlantic, giving the General the opportunity to push Opel up the automotive food chain. GM's plan is already underway, too, as the gorgeous Insignia is due to hit the showroom floor before the end of the year.

The great part about GM's plan to give Opel luxury looks and more inventive interiors is that we'll continue to see better Saturn cars and CUVs here in the States. And that's saying a lot, considering Saturn already looks fresher than most brands on the market today.

[Source: Auto News (subs req'd)]
 

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If Saturn follows suit, how will this effect Buick? Do we have another Oldsmobile in the works?
 

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This makes for some interesting problems. First isn't this the area that Saab should be exploiting in Europe and not Opel? The Saturn issue is of concern too, that would be in the Saab and Buick markets here.

Has any research been done to see exactly why Opel's sales are down? I don't think that making everything a luxury car is the answer.
 

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Either way I don't think they really mean up market if prices are only going to increase 3%.
...and that was at most 3%. I doubt this will affect GM's more premium lines in Europe; it just gives Chevy a bit more breathing room.

If Saturn follows suit, how will this effect Buick? Do we have another Oldsmobile in the works?
In the works? We've got Oldsmobile reincarnate, but I don't think that's a bad thing. There was nothing wrong with Oldsmobile's rung on the GM product ladder; it was the product and marketing once product got there (just like Saturn isn't getting the marketing it needs). FWIW, I think that market is still there (VW, Acura, even some Mazda). In my fantasy world, Buick will be more Lexus (LS/ES/RX/SC, +TSX) and wouldn't worry about Saturn stepping on its toes.
 

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Not surprising. As I have said in other posts, GM's plan seems to be to have Opel replace SAAB as their semi-premium brand in Europe, with Caddy at the top of the food chain. My guess is SAAB will be sold within a year. Too bad as I am a SAAB fan but GM seems to have decided this is the way forward.
 

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Why move upmarket?
Where will this leave SAAB and Cadillac?

BAD MOVE!
Was thinkin the same thing.

I wonder if by "upscale" they mean more like VW has grown in recent years or if they mean more like Saab is currently?

I also remembe reading that Ford has kinda grown more "upscale" in recent years. J Mays supposedly made the comment a few years back that where Ford of Europe was at that point was where Audi was ten years previously - that is, not really an upscale brand, but not really an entry-level product either.

Wonder if that is what they want to do?
 

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I think this is a good move for Opel since they are in a tough market with all the German brands right there. For Saturn, I'm not so sure. Saturn and Saab seem to be treading in the same waters. Buick is different though, its more American luxury, rather than European. The new Invicta concept proves that. I say GM just sell Saab off and concentrate with Opel/Saturn. I believe this goes for Hummer too, it treads in the same waters as the Escalades and the Yukons along with other CUVs.
 

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I wonder if by "upscale" they mean more like VW has grown in recent years or if they mean more like Saab is currently?
I don't get the feeling GM are moving Opel up into prestige territory.

The mainstream market in Europe is sort of segmented into fuzzy "lower" and "upper" segments, with brands like Skoda, Chevrolet, and Hyundai occupying the former, and brands like VW and Peugeot occupying the latter.

The situation is similar in the U.S., where brands like VW, Mazda, and Subaru have somewhat of a just-a-tad-upmarket image from Chevy, Ford, and Toyota.

And being on the bottom rung doesn't automatically equate to a nasty, cheap image either. VW successfully sell both Skoda and SEAT below the VW brand, and Skoda in particular managed to shake a decades-old image of cheap COMECON transport to become a very well-respected, classy brand. Personally, there's not a single Skoda that I wouldn't chose over an equivalent VW.

I think this what GM is trying to do in Europe, create a popular entry-level (but not cheap) Chevrolet brand with a distinct image, and move Opel up just a notch to eliminate the two brands overlapping.

Opel simply must move upwards a bit in order for Chevrolet to succeed in Europe.
 

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As the article states, it makes sense with Chevrolet of Europe winning more and more bargain shoppers with its GM Daewoo-built cars. Opel does not want to be competing with that.
 

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This makes for some interesting problems. First isn't this the area that Saab should be exploiting in Europe and not Opel? The Saturn issue is of concern too, that would be in the Saab and Buick markets here.

Has any research been done to see exactly why Opel's sales are down? I don't think that making everything a luxury car is the answer.
I don't think this presents any problem here in the states, Saturn is already premium (compared to chevy) in terms of price, so it would seem no real price adjustment is needed here. what i take from the article is that Chevy will slot in where opel is now. The real issue is like you said above, Saab. I have no idea where Saab sits, or is even thought to sit in GM's heirarchy anymore...
 

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So Chevy is the Kia of Europe. Nice!

As to Opel/Saturn/Buick/Cadillac/Saab, it doesn't matter, everything is going upscale - just in time for the recession. It's all about styling preferances these days, not price.
 
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