As promised earlier this year, PSA has brought back the Opel brand to the Russian market, with the first models available to order being the Zafira Life and Grandland X.
Not only that, Opel has also started vehicle production in Russia with the Zafira Life people-carrier which is made at the Kaluga plant. The German brand will also build the Vivaro van soon at the same facility. The move completely reverses GM’s 2015 decision to pull Opel out of Russia, which at the time was a troubled market.
Opel is determined to regain market share in Russia and says it will have at least one major launch every year from now on. At the moment, selected dealers in major cities offer the Grandland X SUV and Zafira Life family van. The latter is already being built at PSA’s Kaluga plant, with the Vivaro van to enter production as well in early 2020.
Initially, 11 dealers in big cities such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, Stavropol, Rostov, Ryazan, Tyumen or Nizhny Novgorod will be Opel partners. Their number will double as soon as next year and grow further later on.
“A significant increase of our profitable exports is one of the key pillars of our PACE! company plan. We are making further progress in this area now with our comeback in Russia,” Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller said, adding that “We will gradually increase our commitment in the country in the coming years. This includes offering a wider range of products”.
Opel’s return to Russia will strengthen the presence of Groupe PSA in the Eurasia region. The automaker sees the country as a large and strategically important market with a lot of potential. Furthermore, Opel has a long-standing tradition and enjoys a good reputation in Russia.
Opel/Vauxhall is betting on an extensive export offensive as part of its PACE! plan, which will help the company become sustainably profitable. The goal is to generate 10 percent of the overall Opel sales volume outside of the European core market by the mid-2020s.
To achieve this, the brand is strengthening its presence in Asia, Africa and South America and will enter more than 20 new export markets by 2022. These include Colombia and Ecuador, where Opel will start exporting vehicles starting next year.