Opel is claiming that it is set to beat its production target for the Vectra car in the face of strong demand for the recently introduced mid-sized car.

An Opel spokesman was reported by Reuters to have said that Opel is on curse to build around 165,000 Vectras in Europe by the end of the year, compared with an original target of 150,000 units.

The spokesman also said that Opel is introducing extra shifts on Saturdays to cope with demand and that next year the firm will add night shifts.

The Vectra is a key model for GM in Europe as it attempts to move towards breakeven in Europe. The model it replaced faced often-stinging criticism of its dullness and the upper medium ‘D’ segment has lost out to compact MPVs in recent years. The company has placed considerable emphasis on new product to reverse its decline in Europe.

GM’s ‘Project Olympia’ cost-cutting plan hopes to cut excess capacity in Europe by 500,000 units a year and save two billion euros ($US 1.8 billion). Project Olympia is also intended to return GM’s loss-making European operations to profit – but a loss is still expected for 2002.

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