Groupe PSA’s Opel brand is returning to the Russian market this year. The brand will initially make three models available at selected Russian dealers – the Grandland X (shipped from Eisenach) as well as the Zafira Life and the Vivaro (from Russian production facilities).
The Zafira Life and Vivaro units for the local market will roll off the production line in the Groupe PSA plant in Kaluga.
Opel says it wants to gradually increase its commitment in Russia in the coming years and this includes offering a wider range of products soon. More detailed information on this will be made available at a later date, the company said.
The move comes amid uncertain prospects for the Russian economy and vehicle market. After a long, if modest, period of recovery and growth, Russia’s car market fell back in February. Under former owner General Motors, Opel was withdrawn from the Russian car market as it headed into recession. Opel now highlights solid long-term growth prospects for Russia as an opportunity.
“A significant increase of our profitable exports is one of the key pillars of our PACE! company plan! We are making considerable progress in this area,” said Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller.
“Russia is a large, strategically important and attractive market with a lot of potential. As a German brand with a long-standing tradition and an excellent reputation in the country, we will benefit from this. Being able to produce locally immediately is a prime example of how important being part of Groupe PSA is for Opel.”
Yannick Bézard, Executive Vice President and Operational Director Eurasia, Groupe PSA, said: “The launch of a new brand on the Russian market will allow the Groupe PSA to strengthen its presence in the Eurasia region, expand the offer for existing customers and win new ones. Along with the Opel brand launch in Ukraine last year we project to triple Groupe PSA brands volumes in the region by 2021, based on a profitable business and this project will strongly contribute to this target.”
Initially, 15 to 20 dealers in the largest cities of the country will be Opel partners. This number will more than double in the mid-term, Opel says.
The decision to re-enter the Russian market – a strategic market for a global car maker – is part of the ‘PACE!’ plan aiming at the development of the brand in both Europe and global markets. The goal is to generate 10% of Opel sales volume outside of Europe by the mid-2020s. To achieve this, the brand will further strengthen its presence in the export markets in Asia, Africa and South America where it is already present today and will enter more than 20 new export markets by 2022.
Opel has recently named new, high-performance importers in Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon and South Africa and Opel has also joined the local Groupe PSA organisation in Ukraine.
See also: PSA eyes deal to expand out of Europe