Can Peugeot succeed where General Motors failed?After years of floundering at the heart of General Motors' cursory European strategy, German-based Opel has announced a new strategic plan named PACE that outlines how it plans to flourish now that it's part of the Peugeot family. The brand wants to return to profitability after years of crippling losses.The central part of the plan involves switching from GM to Peugeot technology as fast as possible to benefit from economies of scale. The brand will introduce nine new models by 2020, and all of them will ride on Peugeot bones. The transition will be complete by 2024, when Opel is left with two Peugeot-derived platforms instead of nine different GM-based architectures today. The company published a dark teaser image (pictured above) that previews its next design language.
As you'd expect, the company's model offensive includes electrification. Opel (and its British-based twin Vauxhall) will offer an electrified variant of every single car in its portfolio by 2024. The offensive will include an electric version of the next-generation Corsa due in 2019, and a plug-in hybrid variant of the Grandland X crossover.
Opel stressed it will continue to develop vehicles in its Rüsselsheim, Germany, headquarters. The idea is to retain and strengthen the company's identity, not to serve customers warmed-over French cars. Executives will attempt to cut costs wherever they can, from design to marketing, but CEO Michael Lohscheller pledged to keep all of the company's factories open.
Finally, Opel will attempt to break into 20 new export markets by the year 2022. China and Brazil are high on the company's priorities, but we don't know whether the list includes the United States and Canada. Peugeot is openly planning a return to our shores after a decades-long absence, and the Opel brand could spearhead its model offensive.
Opel sold cars through Buick dealerships in the 1970s, but the name is a distant memory; most Americans don't remember it. Peugeot, on the other hand, remained here until the early 1990s.