The company’s chief, Carl-Peter Foster, made the announcement at the maker’s press conference here in Geneva, and it’s further evidence of the dire financial situation Opel Vauxhall is in.
He even admitted it was immaterial where the money came from – a third party could thus become a major stakeholder in Opel, in order to secure the company. This could include national governments.
‘We need this financial support to bridge the period (until sales start to pick up),’ he said. It could, said the chief, take ‘5 or 6 years’ for new car sales to reach 2008 levels.
As such, Opel is embarking on a ‘right-sizing’ of the business, with green models key to its future. He confirmed that the Vauxhall Ampera would appear in 2012, boasting fuel economy of 176mpg and CO2 emissions of 40g/km.
These figures are totally for real, too – they’ve been conducted using the same standards as today’s models, which rarely get below 100g/km of CO2.
Spontaneous applause greeted the unveiling of the new Ampera (see video below), such is the goodwill behind Opel’s survival here at Geneva.
It will be a tense few weeks for the chief, who also praised outgoing GM top man Bob Lutz. Here’s hoping Lutz’s final product is the car that saves the company…
by RICHARD AUCOCK