What’s wrong with Opel?

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To be closed down later this year: Opel Bochum Plant (Photo: Google.maps)

Like many, I have owned several new Opels. The latter, an Astra, was purchased for over twenty years ago. Since then, I have bought several new cars, but never considered buying an Opel. I think I know why.

Opel’s market share in Norway has declined drastically, and is still falling. I think the trend is the same everywhere. What has happened to Opel since the great seventies, the eighties and the early nineties? I think the reason for the decline is that I – and many with me – no longer choose Opel when we buy a new car. The big question is:

Why do we not choose Opel?

I am browsing through a sales brochure for Opel 2013 made by Opel Norway AS. I browse, but I am not reading. Not at all. Even though all pictures are provided by Opel’s headquarter, there are nothing that catches my mind. To me, the booklet is as interesting as a brochure of kitchen appliances. Boring!

You may think that I don’t like Opel. That’s not true. I have recently driven a brand new Astra 1.4 Turbo, 140hp, 5-door, with the latest facelift. It has plenty of legroom. It runs very well – both on the motorway and in the city. It is comfortable. The wagon version is a full-fledged family car. I think, it will be difficult to find a more spacious, better equipped, better motorized and more pleasant car to drive for the same price.

When I parked the car on the curb, just behind a new Skoda Octavia, I kind I perceived what Opel’s problem is. Even with nice 17 inch alloy wheels and a dark gray pearl paint, the Astra seemed totally anonymous behind the Skoda. It almost seems that someone deliberately has tried to hide Opel’s brand identity. The lack of brand identity is also present behind the wheel of the Astra.

What really should keep Opel’s executives awake at night, is that the anonymous design affects you only when you want to buy a new car, not in everyday use. Anyone interested in cars, knows that Opel is a good car. In the brochure, however, – in the showroom and on the street, parked behind the Skoda, no one notices the Opel.

One of Opel’s historic slogans is “Look at Opel now!” Someone should really look at Opel now. Opel has lost its grip on their old, faithful customers. The enormous Bochum Plant is going to be closed down later this year. It is no doubt that the executives at Opel must know they are knee deep in shit. But what can they do?

I think, maybe Opel should let Opel die, and create a new car brand, for instance Lepo (Opel backwards). We know that the staff at Opel does a good job. That is for sure not the designers, nor the marketing department. They should be laid off immediately and replaced by people who know what the slogan “Wir leben Autos” really means.

Maybe someday Opel may change its slogan to:

Opel – The one you notice!

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