After the recent announcement that General Motors would be pulling out of South Africa, Opel was left in limbo. No longer a subsidiary of GM, but not yet divorced from GMSA. There were thoughts that Opel may pair operations with Isuzu and rely on people with knowledge of the brand, but as it turns out, Opel is going it alone, with the help of one of the largest GM dealer networks in the country.
The Williams Hunt group, a dealer group with vast history with the Opel and other GM brands in the country, has been appointed as the dedicated distributor to distribute and sell the Opel brand in SA as of January 2018.
As part of its commitment to the South African market, Opel has announced that the new Opel Crossland X – a compact crossover that fills the role once played by the Meriva – will go on sale later this year, as the first of many planned new model introductions. The 7-in-17 model offensive from Opel, to introduce 7 new models this year internationally, will ripple to South Africa in due course.
Over the past 2 years, Opel has seen a 9.6% growth in South Africa amidst a steady decline in overall vehicle sales across all brands in the country. Bill Mott, Director of International Sales Operations at Opel, states that they “view South Africa as an important market. We are confident that the brand will continue to grow from strength to strength globally and here in South Africa, because of the solid foundation that has been built in the 80-plus years Opel has been here.”
Where to from here for Opel SA?
Opel will be looking to expand on their recent success with the ADAM, Corsa, Mokka, and of course the SA COTY, the Opel Astra. The Opel Crossland X will be launched in the 2nd half of 2017, and in 2018 we can look forward to another crossover in the form of the Grandland X. At this stage, models like the Insignia are still not suitable for the local buying climate, though with time it may be introduced.
Williams Hunt will be looking to re-establish the brand footprint, starting with 35 main dealers to be set up this year, with a full brand roll-out going forward from next year. The re-established model will still honour all existing service and maintenance agreements currently held by GMSA.