Monday, 29 February 2016

!NEW! All-New Opel Astra voted “Car of the Year 2016”

Prestigious award from leading automotive journalists presented at Geneva Motor Show 

Winning way: The new Opel Astra sweeps past the opposition to win the 2016 Car of the Year award.
The new Opel Astra is “Car of the Year 2016” and therefore the winner of the most renowned award in the industry! The 58-strong jury of automotive journalists from 22 European countries awarded the Astra a total of 309 points versus 294 for the Volvo XC90 and 202 for the Mazda MX-5.

Winning smile: Opel Group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann proudly presents the “Car of the Year” award for the new Opel Astra.
The “Car of the Year 2016” trophy was presented to Opel CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann by COTY president Hakan Matson on the eve of the first press day at the 86th Geneva International Motor Show.

The Astra emerged as the winner from a field of seven COTY finalists. More than 40 new cars, from sporty roadsters to premium limousines and sports utility vehicles, were among the original contenders.

“The new Astra represents the start of a new era at Opel and victory in this year’s ‘Car of the Year’ competition shows that we are on the right track,” said Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann. “It is an honor for us to receive such a prestigious award from leading automotive journalists.”

Three new Opel models have been named “Car of the Year” in its last eight editions. The new Astra has already won international awards such as SAFETYBEST 2015 and the 2015 Golden Steering Wheel since its launch last fall. It also received the maximum five stars for its performance in the Euro NCAP crash test.

Both the five-door and the Sports Tourer variants of the new titleholder are based on a completely new lightweight vehicle architecture. Power is delivered exclusively by the newest-generation diesel and gasoline engines. Smartphone integration and the groundbreaking personal connectivity and service assistant Opel OnStar enable ultra-modern connectivity. The Astra also continues Opel’s tradition of introducing features previously only known from higher segments into the compact segment, such as IntelliLux LED Matrix light.

The European Car of the Year award was founded in 1964. This year’s victory takes Opel’s total “Car of the Year” tally to five. The Opel Kadett E was the first car from Rüsselsheim to win the award in 1985. Two years later, the Omega A once again took the pan-European accolade.

In recent years, Opel has come out on top twice – with the Insignia in 2009 and the Ampera in 2012.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

!NEW! Opel 1.0 Direct Injection Turbo Engine awarded Powertrain of the Year in South Africa

Opel’s three-cylinder ecoFLEX engine has been singled out by South African motoring magazine – CAR – as the best of its ilk.

Opel 1.0 ecoFLEX  Direct Injection Turbo 
In their March issue, which features the editors’ annual Best Buy choices, they selected the turbopetrol one-litre - which does duty in both the Opel ADAM and Corsa ranges - as their Powertrain of the Year. They lauded it for its “gutsy performance and frugal consumption,” and went on to describe it as “a prime example of engine downsizing.”

They also praised it for being refined and characterful.

The 1.0 litre ecoFLEX was introduced to the South African market in the Opel ADAM at the end of 2014 and rapidly went on to become a firm favourite in the marketplace thanks to its exceptional refinement, low-end torque and efficiency. When the fifth-generation Corsa was launched locally early last year, the triple – also in 85 kW/170 Nm guise – became available in Opel’s supermini.

Confirming its status as a benchmark engine is that derivatives from both nameplates, powered by identical ecoFLEX powerplants, were under the bonnets of Opel’s two finalists, the ADAM and Corsa, in the South Africa Guild of Motoring Journalists’ Wesbank Car of the Year competition.

ADAM was the first Opel to receive this new, direct injection engine, developed at the manufacturer’s International Technical Development Centre (ITDC) in Rüsselsheim, Germany.

Opel ADAM with 1.0 ecoFLEX  Direct Injection Turbo 
Combined cycle fuel consumption is a mere 5.1-litres per 100 kilometres, with CO2 emissions of just 119 g/km. In the Opel Corsa application the headline numbers are 5.0 litres and 117 g/km respectively.

Opel Corsa with 1.0 ecoFLEX  Direct Injection Turbo 
These outstanding numbers are especially impressive given the generous power output and high torque. Maximum torque is already available at just 1 800 rpm and remains at 170 Nm until 4 500 rpm.

Compact dimensions and low mass are achieved with features that include an all-in-one cylinder head and exhaust manifold, and a tiny, low-inertia turbocharger. It even boasts a switchable water pump, which is disengaged when the engine coolant is cold in order to accelerate warm-up, contributing further to the low fuel consumption. Other efficiency enablers include direct fuel injection, variable valve timing and weight-saving all-aluminium construction.

A host of features have all but eliminated noise, vibration and harshness, with the result that the 1.0 ecoFLEX is not only more refined than other three-cylinder engines, it’s also quieter than many four-cylinder units.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

!NEW! Saving on the Road: New Opel Astra Sports Tourer with Class-Leading Total Cost of Ownership

  • High quality level: Residual value increased by up to twelve percent
  • Efficiency in the tank: Latest generation engines curb consumption
  • Cutting costs: Tire sizes and refurbished components reduce bills 

Best-in-class: New Opel Astra Sports Tourer stands out with the lowest total cost of ownership in its segment.
Just like the Opel Astra five-door, the new Opel Astra Sports Tourer is setting new standards in the compact class thanks to the lightweight construction, comprehensive assistance systems and the powerful new generation engines. Every component targets efficiency without compromise. This results in the compact station wagon impressing with its outstanding Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Thanks to reduced fuel consumption and maintenance costs along with improved value stability, the new Opel Astra Sports Tourer cruises to a leading position in TCO comparisons with its direct competition.

Bright outlook: Residual value of the new Opel Astra Sports Tourer is up to 12 percent higher than the previous model.
“Especially company car and frequent drivers benefit from the high quality level of and the low repair costs for the new Opel Astra Sports Tourer. In addition, we offer convincing business packages. They are ideal for ‘smart buyers’ who attach importance to the certain something but do not want to spend a lot of money. Those who want to sell on their compact station wagon in a few years’ time will also be pleased by the high residual value of the Sports Tourer,” said Peter Christian Küspert, Vice President Sales & Aftersales Opel Group.

Spare parts and tires: Can it be a little smaller ?

Efficiency and economy were already key during the development of the Astra Sports Tourer with the compact wagon losing up to 190 kilograms depending on the variant. High-strength and ultra high-strength steels and new production processes all played a part in this weight loss program. The extra light and highly efficient latest generation engine portfolio with outputs ranging from 70 kW/95 hp to 147 kW/200 hp pay an important part in the weight reduction and therefore in optimizing running costs. Consumption has been curbed considerably compared to the previous generation (fuel consumption and CO2 emissions combined: 6.2-3.4 l/100 km; 142-89 g/km). The 1.6 CDTI with 81 kW/110 hp with low-rolling-resistance tires and Start/Stop reduces consumption for the combined cycle to 3.4 liters of diesel per 100 km (89 grams of CO2 per kilometer), thus saving money.

The new Opel Astra Sports Tourer also scores heavily on maintenance costs. Servicing intervals of 30,000 kilometers or once per year are especially interesting for businesses, company car or frequent drivers. Advantageous insurance rating – the gasoline compact station wagon is at the same favorable level as the previous model – also go easy on the budget. Spare parts are one of the main expense factors in fleet operation or private use with especially tires having an impact. Therefore, everything will be one size smaller in the Opel Astra Sports Tourer. 15-inch rims with 195/65 R15 tires and 16-inch rims with 205/55 R16 tires are the new standard. That saves up to €46 per wheel compared to the outgoing model.

The Astra Sports Tourer also reduces costs for servicing and repairs. Therefore, Opel already have a stock of recycled components including important spare parts such as cylinder heads, transmissions, alternators, steering systems, starter motors, brake calipers, fuel injection pumps and diesel particle filters. All of these parts meet the Opel new goods standards in terms of quality, technology and design while simultaneously reducing the workshop bill by 30 to 40 percent.

TCO reduced, residual value increased

The new Opel Astra Sports Tourer reaches an outstanding level of quality thanks to ultra-modern production methods and high-grade material – and this has an impact on the TCO - relevant residual value where the newcomer once again sets standards in its segment. The predicted residual value for the Opel Astra Sports Tourer with the 92 kW/125 hp 1.4 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo Business is at 33.9% after five years and 100,000 kilometers. The residual value has thus increased by around seven per cent or €2,485, resulting in savings of up to €3,374. The Opel Astra Sports Tourer with the 1.4 ECOTEC Business is also exemplary when it comes to fuel consumption. The direct injection gasoline engine combined with Start/Stop and low-rolling-resistance tires delivers combined consumption of 4.9 liters per 100 kilometers, which is equivalent to 114 grams of CO2 per kilometer.

Opel Astra Sports Tourer 1.6 CDTI Business with 81 kW/110 hp even goes one further and impresses with a predicted residual value of 48.8% after three years or 90,000 kilometers – almost twelve per cent or €3,465 higher than the outgoing version. Overall, this propels the new Opel Astra Sports Tourer to new heights in comparison with the direct competition – no other is more cost-conscious or efficient.

Friday, 19 February 2016

!NEW! All-New Buick LaCrosse goes on sale in China next month

New sedan will take performance, fuel efficiency and comfort to new level

All-New Buick LaCrosse
SAIC-GM’s new-generation Buick LaCrosse sedan, which goes on sale in China next month, will come with new high-efficiency powertrains and an upgraded chassis. It will take performance, fuel efficiency and comfort to a new level in the premium passenger car segment.

Highly Efficient Powertrains

The new Buick LaCrosse is being offered in China with a choice of powertrains. The top-of-the-line LaCrosse 28T is powered by GM’s high-performance 2.0T SIDI engine, which was named a Ward's 10 Best Engine. The engine incorporates advanced technology such as a twin-scroll turbocharger, intelligent inline direct injection, a tooth camshaft drive chain, a variable displacement oil pump and an integral balance shaft mounted low in the oil sump to maximize efficiency.

New Buick LaCrosse 28T is powered by GM’s high-performance 2.0T SIDI engine.

Paired with an upgraded intelligent six-speed DSS transmission and incorporating start/stop technology, it generates a maximum output of 192 kW and peak torque of 350 Nm. The powertrain combination enables the new Buick LaCrosse to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.4 seconds while achieving combined fuel consumption of 7.6 liters/100 km.

The new Buick LaCrosse 20T is equipped with GM's new-generation and efficient 1.5T SIDI engine, which features an advanced structural design and cutting-edge technologies. They include mid-mounted direct injection, a variable displacement oil pump, an integrated cylinder head/exhaust manifold, a patented ultra-quiet inverted-tooth camshaft drive chain and an all-aluminum split cylinder block.

New Buick LaCrosse 20T is equipped with GM's new-generation 1.5T SIDI engine.

The engine is matched with a seven-speed intelligent dual-clutch gear transmission and includes fuel-saving start/stop technology. The powertrain combination produces a maximum output of 125 kW, peak torque of 252 Nm and combined fuel economy of 6.2 liters/100 km. The new Buick LaCrosse 20T is eligible for the Chinese government’s 50 percent purchase tax cut for vehicles with small-displacement engines.

Enhanced Chassis System

The new Buick LaCrosse has an upgraded chassis system. It comes with GM’s second-generation Continuous Damping Control (CDC). A sensor monitors road conditions 100 times per second to maximize comfort and handling. Younger drivers will appreciate the specially tuned Sport mode, which ensures better handling – especially in cornering.

New Buick LaCrosse’s upgraded chassis.
The optimized MacPherson front suspension in the new Buick LaCrosse has a class-leading decoupled three-link upper suspension structure that independently passes on the load of the springs, bumper blocks and dampers to the body for faster response. A redesigned eight-point full-length sub-frame connects the body using four vibration isolation joints and four enhanced connecting points. 

A multi-link independent rear suspension isolates vibrations while offering sufficient lateral rigidity and stability. An upgraded Electric Power Steering (EPS) system provides precise and highly efficient steering control by boosting the motor power by 39 percent and enhancing transmission efficiency to over 85 percent.  

New Buick LaCrosse’s upgraded chassis.
The LaCrosse has been a key member of Buick’s lineup in China since the nameplate’s local introduction in 2006. Last year, more than 83,000 LaCrosse sedans were sold nationwide.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

!NEW! A Whole New World: Opel GT Concept Shows Visionary Interior

  • Central themes: Symbiosis of human and machine along with digital connectivity
  • Pure elegance and athleticism: Sculptural design with sophisticated details
  • Buttonless: Operation only via touchpad and voice control
  • Artificial Intelligence: Self-learning HMI system recognizes driver’s preferences

World premiere in Geneva: Opel GT Concept shows a visionary interior.
This dream car impresses with both its exterior and its interior values: The Opel GT Concept shows what a popular sportscar of the future will look like – puristic and breathtaking alike. The coupé will celebrate its world premiere at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show (March 3 to 13). Visitors will initially be able to admire its sculptural shape. Then they can imagine taking the well-trained athlete out of the city on to the next alpine pass and enjoying its dynamism in every hairpin. Beyond its stunning exterior, the Opel designers have also created an interior that perfectly blends typical cues from a sports coupé and futuristic solutions for the human/machine interface. Everything in the Opel GT Concept is ready for the pure pleasure of an exciting drive. The two sports seats fit like a tailor-made suit, the steering wheel and the pedals can be adjusted electrically down to the last millimeter, the low beltline of the doors enables a casual arm position, colors and shapes create a perfect spatial feeling and the sky above the panorama roof races by. Human and machine become one.

Opel GT Concept: Coupé will celebrate its world premiere at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show (March 3 to 13).
However, nothing distracts the driver and the front passenger from the essential. The interior is just as puristic as the exterior. The instrument panel of the Opel GT Concept made from brushed aluminum visually enhances the lightweight construction (the overall weight remains below 1,000 kg) and seems to float in front of the occupants. It is, however, a structural member between the slim A pillars of the windshield – here structure becomes sculpture. Opel’s design philosophy “Sculptural artistry meets German precision” continues throughout the interior. Just like the attention to detail: Round monitors are embedded in the outer aluminum air jets with the polished GT emblem. The monitors capture the vehicle’s environment and replace side door mirrors.

Pure elegance and athleticism: Sculptural design with sophisticated details.

The shining red seatbelt retractors are also works of art and follow the design of the red front tires.

Works of art: The shining red seatbelt retractors follow the design of the red front tires.
The steering wheel with its spoke design pays homage to the legendary Opel GT from the 1960s and 1970s.

Spoke design: The steering wheel pays homage to the legendary Opel GT from the 1960s and 1970s.

True mate: Opel GT Concept anticipates the driver’s every wish

Elsewhere, buttons cannot be found anywhere. The sportscar is operated purely by voice control and a central touchpad. Experts refer to the control concept of the car as Human Machine Interface (HMI). The Opel concept car comes with a revolutionary HMI. In the GT Concept the adaptive system is waiting to get to know the driver and adapt to his or her needs. The car thus adjusts itself to the driver and not the other way round. This results in a dialogue during which the car answers in a charming voice and can for example chose the right music, route or temperature according to the situation. The Opel HMI is like a friend on the passenger seat – it recognizes whether hip-hop or chill-out is wanted. In order to always spontaneously offer the most appropriate support, the software learns from every command, every touch of the steering wheel and every setting over days, months and years. A similar approach is already known from self-learning adaptive automatic transmissions. They adapt to the style of the respective driver with either sporty or economic gearshifts. The adaptive HMI is a holistic approach and shows that vehicle operation seen in science-fiction movies is slowly becoming reality.

Sculptural design: The interior is just as puristic as the exterior.
The instruments also reflect the atmosphere in the Opel GT Concept. If the driver has had a stressful day and wants to surf through the menus without saying a word, he just needs to reach for the round touchpad on the center stack, from where he can easily operate all functions. The two classically inspired round instruments are actually projection surfaces that can be backlit in different colors and display a variety of information three-dimensionally – a further development of the system shown in the 2013 Opel Monza Concept. Rpms and speed are always clearly visible on the left whereas the information shown on the right instrument can be configured individually.

Artificial Intelligence: Self-learning HMI system recognizes the driver’s preferences.
If the Opel GT Concept is cruising along on a business trip, while permanently connected to the office or the client, the right instrument facilitates navigation with an intuitive graphic without any numerical values; when under time pressure, it displays consumption. When the mood changes because the end of the working day is nearing and the driver fancies cornering at speed, the accelerator, transmission and engine control are optimized accordingly and the right-hand instrument even displays the g-force values of the longitudinal acceleration.

Buttonless: Operation only via touchpad and voice control.
The car may then even speak out and issue a warning such as: “Be careful. Don’t overlook the motorcycle behind us!” After all, the Opel GT Concept keeps a close eye on the traffic situation - and does not just adapt to the driver’s tastes and moods, but also to the exterior conditions to also enhance safety. Instead of side door mirrors, Opel GT Concept relies on cameras mounted behind the front wheel arches to show what is happening behind and next to the car. The images are transmitted to round monitors to the left and right of the driver. In addition, the large central screen displays all desired information. The adaptive Opel HMI is more than just a good friend – it is an additional on-board guardian angel.

GT Concept: Opel designers have created an interior that perfectly blends typical cues from a sports coupé and futuristic solutions for the human/machine (HMI) interface.

New Name for New Era: GM Powertrain Evolves to GM Global Propulsion Systems

  • GM Powertrain becomes General Motors Global Propulsion Systems
  • New propulsion diversity: Shaping the future of transportation and mobility

New Name: GM Powertrain becomes General Motors Global Propulsion Systems.

Opel parent company General Motors will officially rename GM Powertrain to GM Global Propulsion Systems, being the first OEM to formally transition to a new naming convention to reflect industry trends and its evolution over the years. The European engineering centers reside in Rüsselsheim and Turin. These sites will be named GM Global Propulsion Systems – Rüsselsheim Engineering Center and Turin Engineering Center accordingly.

“The new name is another step on our journey to redefine transportation and mobility,” said Mark Reuss, Executive Vice President, Global Product Development. “Global Propulsion Systems better conveys what we are developing and offering to our customers: an incredibly broad, diverse lineup – ranging from high-tech 3 cylinder gasoline engines to fuel cells, battery electric systems, and 6 and 8 speed transmissions.”

1.0 ECOTEC Turbo with Direct Injection is an all-aluminum engine powering the Opel ADAM, Corsa and Astra.

GM’s Global Propulsion Systems is collectively the group of more than 8,600 people that design, develop, engineer and manufacture all propulsion related equipment and controls for GM worldwide. Presently, some 2,500 experts are employed in this area at the European sites in Rüsselsheim and Turin.

All-aluminum: 1.4 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo with central direct fuel injection will be available in the new Opel Astra in two outputs, 92 kW/125 hp and 110 kW/150 hp

According to Christian Müller, Vice President, GM Global Propulsion Systems – Europe, “Gone are the days when a gasoline engine and a transmission are all a vehicle needs. Today mobility is key and the customer is demanding unprecedented technology integration that requires unprecedented engineering and supplier partnerships. The name change reflects the new and larger scope as we head into a future of propulsion systems such as electric drive.”

Nearly 50 percent of the Global Propulsion Systems engineering workforce is involved with alternative or electrified propulsion systems. GM’s expanding capabilities include the all-new Opel Ampera-e battery electric vehicle and hydrogen fuel cells. Other notable systems include the new generation combustion engines currently being rolled out.

Other recent achievements include the Easytronic 3.0 automated manual transmission of the Opel ADAM, Corsa and Astra, the highly acclaimed drivetrain for the Astra and the new BiTurbo diesel engine which makes its world debut at the Geneva motor show in the new Astra Sports Tourer.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

!NEW! Opel/Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer Production Starts at Ellesmere Port

  • First Astra Sports Tourer rolls off production line today
  • Smaller outside, bigger inside – up to 190 kg lighter than outgoing model
  • Opel OnStar, IntelliLink infotainment compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto 

Astra Sports Tourer production started today at the Ellesmere Port plant in the UK.

Production of the new Astra Sports Tourer started today at the Opel/Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port, United Kingdom. Plant workers were joined by Peter Thom, Vice President Manufacturing Opel Group, and Stefan Fesser, Ellesmere Port Plant Director, as the first vehicle left the production line. Like its five-door hatch sibling, the Astra Sports Tourer is based on an all-new lightweight vehicle architecture with a new design, powertrains and technology.

Astra Sports Tourer production started today at the Ellesmere Port plant in the UK. Employees were joined by Plant Director Stefan Fesser (center).
The Sports Tourer further extends the dynamic lines of the five-door. The slightly arched sloping roofline gives the Sports Tourer a longer appearance, an effect that is further enhanced by the divided C-pillar. The rear view combines high functionality with elegant design. The Sports Tourer has a stable, robust and safe stance, the muscular rear-wheel arch contours and the divided rear light clusters add to this impression.

The latest generation Sports Tourer has almost the same dimensions as the outgoing model with a length of 4,702 mm, a width of 1,871 mm (with exterior mirrors folded in) and a height of 1,510 mm – however, it offers much more space for passengers and luggage. The driver can enjoy 26 mm of additional headroom, passengers in the rear have 28 mm more legroom, providing more space and comfort. The Sports Tourer’s total cargo capacity is now 1,630 litres, thanks to more efficient packaging.

Power outputs of 70 kW/95 hp to 147 kW/200 hp are delivered by the range of highly efficient diesel and gasoline engines (fuel consumption and CO2 emissions combined: 6.2-3.4 l/100 km; 142-89 g/km).

Depending on the model and trim level, the Astra Sports Tourer is up to 190 kg lighter than its predecessor. The completely new vehicle architecture plays a major role in the weight reduction. Every component was checked for compact design and lightweight materials. The body shell weight alone was reduced by around 85 kilograms.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

!NEW! Opel Announces New Battery Electric Car: Ampera-e

  • New Opel battery electric vehicle will break down barriers to electric mobility
  • Five-door, five-seat Ampera-e will have longer range than most electric cars
  • Fun to drive, outstanding connectivity and affordably priced

Game-changer: Five-door, five-seat Opel Ampera-e will have longer range than most electric cars.

Opel will launch a revolutionary new battery electric car next year, as the German brand continues the biggest, most far-reaching model offensive in its history with 29 new models between 2016 and 2020. The new five-door, five seat will be called “Ampera-e”. It will not only have a longer range on a full charge than most electric cars, it will also be affordably priced.

Building on the electrification expertise established with the original Opel Ampera, which set the benchmark for modern electric cars in 2011, the new Opel Ampera-e combines innovative electric-mobility with state-of-the-art connectivity and exciting driving dynamics.

Announcing the Ampera-e today at the CAR Symposium in Bochum, Germany, GM Chairman & CEO Mary Barra said: “GM and Opel have always been convinced that electric cars will play a defining role in future mobility. The game-changing technology of the Ampera-e is a significant step toward realizing that vision. Our new battery electric car is also another boost for Opel’s reputation for making innovative engineering widely accessible.”

In debate: Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, host of the CAR Symposium, and GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.
Trends like urbanization and protecting the environment also call for new kinds of mobility and alternative propulsion systems. “Electric vehicles have the potential to make a significant contribution to climate protection and emissions reduction”, says Opel group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann. “The new Opel Ampera-e will open the road to electric mobility by breaking down the barriers of high price and short driving range.”

The unique, compact proportions of the Ampera-e are driven by the battery pack being mounted flat, under the vehicle floor. The efficient packaging of the battery also enables a roomy interior providing comfortable seating for five passengers and trunk space comparable with that of a car in the compact class.

The Ampera-e will also offer the award-winning personal connectivity and service assistant, Opel OnStar and connectivity and infotainment technologies that will integrate smartphones and other electronic devices seamlessly into the vehicle.

!NEW! Strong Fourth Quarter Growth Delivers Holden Solid Sales Results in 2015

  • Holden consolidates its position in the top three automotive companies in Australia
  • Q4 2015 saw Holden sales grow by 12.9% compared to the same quarter last year – the second strongest growth performance amongst Australia’s 10 top selling car brands in Q4
  • 24 new models launched by 2020; Holden to refresh or replace every vehicle in its range
  • New model onslaught combines with the ongoing evolution of the Holden brand and a laser focus on customer experience to underpin Holden’s future success   

Holden achieved solid sales across 2015 to consolidate its position in the top three automotive companies in Australia. Today’s official Federal Chamber of Automotive Industry (FCAI) figures show Holden finished the year with 102,951 sales – translating to 8.9% percent market share for the year. This solid result was driven by strong SUV, pick-up and VF Commodore sales.

In calendar year 2015, Holden saw growth across a number of key models lines, including the Spark, Trax, Captiva and Colorado model lines.  

Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Mark Bernhard, said that while 2015 had been a challenging year for Holden, the Lion brand remains focused on building a building a bright long-term future through a focus on three key business pillars: brand, product and customer experience. 

“While we saw a slight decrease in overall sales compared to 2014, there are many positive trends and several key model lines performed strongly. Holden will continue to face challenges in 2016 and we have a lot of work to do, but our long-term strategy to modernize and evolve our brand, put the customer at the centre of everything we do and completely overhaul our vehicle range is beginning to pay dividends, step by step.

“Particularly encouraging was our sales performance across the final four months of 2015. From September, for four straight months, Holden increased its sales year on year. In fact during those four months we sold 3,755, or 16.3 per cent, more vehicles than in the corresponding 2014 period. This represents the second highest growth figures during this period of the Top 10 automotive brands in Australia. Holden finished 2015 with four straight months of year-on-year growth.

“After launching some fantastic new models in 2015, including the Astra hatch, Cascada convertible and Insignia sedan, Holden’s new product onslaught will continue this year. We are launching 24 new models by 2020, refreshing or replacing every single model in the Holden line-up. We are paying particular attention to the key growth market segments in Australia and will have an all-new world-class SUV line-up, an outstanding pick-up truck and industry-leading small cars. Holden is becoming much more than the Commodore car company.

“We will bring the right products from across GM’s global portfolio to give Australian customers the best line-up ever, including smart technology like Apple Car Play and Android Auto available in every Spark and Captiva model from 2016. And this is just the start, we will also launch the all-new, world-class Astra hatch later in 2016 and have a few very exciting surprises up our sleeve.”

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

!NEW! Pre-Season Testing: Countless Kilometers for Opel Astra TCR

  • Development of Opel’s new customer racing touring car right on schedule
  • Positive findings after five-day test drives in Estoril, Portugal
  • Delivery of first cars to customer teams at end of February 
For customer racing: Opel Astra TCR is built in accordance with the regulations of the Touring Car Racing Series.
The Opel Astra TCR development program is going at full speed. Last week, the new customer racing touring car built in accordance with the TCR (Touring Car Racing Series) regulations covered countless kilometers over five test days on the Circuito do Estoril in Portugal. “It was a very good test,” says Opel Motorsport Director Jörg Schrott. “The timeline is still very tight, but we are on schedule. Opel Astra TCR ran reliably at the last test drives in Zandvoort and Estoril, it’s performing well. Now we’re working on fine-tuning details before the first vehicles are delivered to our customer teams at the end of February.” The Opel Astra TCR makes it public premiere at the Geneva Motor Show (March 3 – 13, 2016).

Pre-season testing: Countless kilometers for the Opel Astra TCR on the race circuits in Zandvoort and Estoril.

Opel Motorsport Technical Director Dietmar Metrich and the team at Opel development partner Kissling Motorsport paid special attention to the front axle’s sophisticated concept. “On a racing car with around 330 hp and front-wheel drive, this is a key component. All the longitudinal and lateral forces of a TCR car, so in addition to braking and steering this also means acceleration, affect the front wheels,” explains Dietmar Metrich. “And this is not only about the lap times, it is also about tire wear. So whoever has a car with a well-performing front axle has a clear advantage in tough competition. And because the front-wheel suspension pivot point is not specified in the TCR guidelines, we have some leeway in the design of the front axle.”

During the last test drives, the technicians concentrated on the basic setup to draw out the Opel Astra TCR’s maximum performance. This is in line with Dietmar Metrich’s credo: “It’s always easier to make a fast racing car solid than to make a solid one fast. But ultimately the best of both has to be at hand.” What is extremely important in the process is the meticulous balancing of the mechanical grip of the chassis and wheels as well as the aerodynamic grip, which is mainly created by the rear wing and front splitter. Both give the racing car fast and easy-to-drive handling. The racing car driver’s information on the car’s driving behavior is as significant as the lap times. Finely tuned vehicle balance is also especially important for brake performance. Opel Astra TCR’s brake system from the renowned manufacturer AP enables extremely late braking points. This is ensured by 378 mm brake discs and six-piston brake calipers at the front along with 265 mm brake discs and two-piston brake calipers at the back. The driver can modulate the braking balance from the cockpit.

Opel Astra TCR is also top in terms of dynamic strength. The sequential, six-speed racing transmission operated by a paddle shift located on the steering wheel from the French specialists Sadev works without difficulty. And the four-cylinder, two-liter turbocharged engine with two overhead camshafts and multi-point injection has already proved its strength and endurance in long-distance events. The 16 valve 330 hp unit with maximum torque of around 420 Nm also delivers impressive figures in its TCR trim. In this case it is boundaries set by the guidelines that limit the engine’s potential performance.

The key concept here is “Balance of Performance”. To ensure that every automaker – regardless of the technical basis of their production series platform – can bring a competitive racing car to the racetrack while also putting an end to cost-intensive technical spin-off pursuits, the regulation guardians balance the racing cars using a tried and tested system. The two “Balance of Performance” adjustment points in the TCR are engine performance and weight, whereby the engine performance is controlled via electronics or so-called mapping. The TCR guidelines thus enable exciting customer racing with maximum cost control.

“We still have lots of work ahead of us before our TCR debut,” says Jörg Schrott. “But I’m already looking forward to the coming season. The TCR is exactly what the teams and fans want. Thrilling, breathtakingly close motorsport featuring cars the spectators can identify with – this approach is a surefire success.” 

!NEW! Opel Records January Sales Increase of over 10 Percent across Europe

  • Opel outgrows the overall market considerably
  • Highest European sales and market share since 2011 

Huge success: Sales of the new Opel Astra were up by more than 43 percent in January.

Opel has started the year positively across Europe. New registrations of around 80,000 gave the company its highest January sales figures and market share since 2011. According to preliminary data, sales increased by 7,500 units or 10.4 percent compared to January 2015. Thus, the Rüsselsheim-based carmaker registered significantly more growth than the overall European market (growth of 2.6 percent). Opel’s market share was up by 0.4 percentage points to 5.75 percent.

Extremely popular: New Opel Astra was sold over 17,500 times across Europe.
“Our excellent start to the year once again shows that our product offensive is appealing to the taste of our customers,” said Peter Christian Küspert, Vice President Sales & Aftersales Opel Group. “The new Opel Astra is a resounding success with an increase of over 43 percent in January.

The new Opel Astra Sports Tourer and the new Opel Mokka X will continue to drive sales during the course of the year.”

Opel’s strong display in the opening month of the year is mainly based on the demand for the new Astra. The current generation, available at dealerships in most European countries during the course of November, was sold more than 17,500 times. The winner of six national Golden Steering Wheel and nine Car of the Year awards has already been ordered more than a 100,000 times across Europe. In addition, the Opel Mokka registered an increase of 5.4 percent in January and recorded sales of around 12,500 units.

Opel registered an increase in sales in 14 European markets in January including the three large western European markets Germany (+20.5%), France (+16.6%) and Spain (68.8%). In Germany, Opel posted its highest January sales and markets share since 2008. In Spain, the increase saw the company record its highest sales since 2008 and its highest market share since 2001.

Monday, 8 February 2016

!NEW! Opel Building New Spare Parts Distribution Center in Bochum

  • Carmaker investing €60 million in Bochum
  • Biggest General Motors investment worldwide in spare parts logistics
  • Ultra-modern warehouse with a surface of 95,000 m2
  • Groundbreaking ceremony with Garrelt Duin, NRW Minister of Economics

Big investment: Opel will erect a new spare parts distribution center in Bochum.
Opel is building in Bochum: The company will erect a new building complex on the Opel site in Bochum-Landendreer for €60 million. 700 employees will look after European spare parts supply from 2017. More than 100,000 different part items will be stored in the new distribution center with a surface of 95,000 m2.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the project, which represents General Motors’ biggest single investment worldwide in spare parts logistics, took place today. Peter Christian Küspert, Vice President Sales & Aftersales Opel Group, Murat Yaman, Chairman of the Bochum employee's representation, Prof. Dr. Rolf Heyer, Managing Director of “Bochum Perspektive 2022” and two high-ranking political guests: the Minister of Economics of North Rhine-Westphalia Garrelt Duin and Bochum’s Lory Mayor Thomas Eiskirch.

Prof. Dr. Rolf Heyer, Managing Director of “Bochum Perspektive 2022”, Garrelt Duin, Minister of Economics of North Rhine-Westphalia, Peter Christian Küspert, Vice President Sales & Aftersales Opel Group, Bochum’s Lord Mayor Thomas Eiskirch and Murat Yaman, Chairman of the Bochum employee's representation, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new distribution center in Bochum-Langendreer (from left to right).
“Spare parts logistics are one of our key competences,” emphasized Peter Christian Küspert. “Ensuring fast and smooth parts supply for Opel drivers is an important component of customer satisfaction.”

The project will be realized by building contractors Goldbeck who specialize in industrial facilities. Goldbeck will be responsible for all engineering services from planning to building including the technical building systems.

An area of 10 hectares, which is equivalent to the size of a dozen football pitches, needs to be cleared to make way for the new building. In the next step, the site will then be filled in with 190,000 m3 of earth. Finally, shelving systems with a total length of 13,500 meters will be installed.

“We stood up for this investment along with the conservation and expansion of the distribution center from the very beginning. My 700 colleagues and I are therefore even more pleased to witness this important groundbreaking event today. This is all the more true because we returned to the Opel network at the beginning of the year. The long-term future of the jobs in the Bochum distribution center is therefore secured. It is an import signal and a new chapter of Opel in Bochum has been opened,” said Murat Yaman.

“The construction of the new distribution center in Bochum means that hundreds of jobs are secure in the long term. With DHL already having decided to build a parcel center here this investment is another clear signal for the attractiveness of this site in the heart the Ruhr metropolis,” added Garrelt Duin, Minister of Economics of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The ink on the purchase agreement between the DHL and the development company “Bochum Perspektive 2022” is only just dry with the agreement for the building of the parcel center. This gives the town officials a further reason to be optimistic. “Two large projects have commenced in the matter of a few days. It shows: Bochum is a place worth investing in. Now we need to continue. It is our job to make sure that more investments follow,” said Bochum’s Lord Mayor Thomas Eiskirch.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

!NEW! Even More Adventurous – New Opel Mokka X

  • New look: Bold and masculine on the outside, refined elegance on the inside
  • New choice: New gasoline 1.4 liter Direct Injection Turbo with automatic transmission and all-wheel drive
  • New visibility: Adaptive LED headlamps and new generation Opel Eye front camera
  • New infotainment system: With smartphone integration and OnStar services

Raring to go: New Opel Mokka X will celebrate its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show. 
Ever since its launch in 2012, the Opel Mokka has gone from strength to strength. With its perfect size (4.28 meters long), its sporty look and elevated seating position, the sub-compact SUV appeals to the zeitgeist and has already been ordered over 500,000 times across Europe making it one of the most popular models in its segment. Now the new Opel Mokka X looks to add to this popularity. It will celebrate its world premiere at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show (March 3 to 13, 2016) and will hit the market this fall with a fresh iconic exterior design, a new interior and outstanding, new generation infotainment systems making it one of the best-connected all-terrain eye-catchers on the market. Alongside the recently launched new generation 1.6 “whisper diesels”, the new Opel Mokka X will also extend its gasoline offer with a new generation 1.4 liter Direct Injection Turbo which will be combined with an automatic transmission, Start/Stop and all-wheel drive.

Bold and adventurous attitude

The Mokka could be labelled as one of the symbols of Opel’s successful comeback in recent years. The sub-compact SUV has attracted many new customers to the brand who are attracted by the body style of a SUV combined with a stylish design, a sporty, adventurous flair, and genuine off-road capabilities. The new Mokka X will be the first carline to introduce the segment identifier for future Opel SUV and crossover vehicles with the “X” emphasizing a more adventurous and rugged personality as the one displayed by more traditional body styles.

Stylish: New Opel Mokka X with wing-shaped horizontal front grille and the dominant, sharp double wing signature of the LED daytime running lights.

The Mokka X’ new exterior design displays a bold attitude. Its new front look is aligned with Opel’s new design including a wing-shaped horizontal front grille and the dominant, sharp double wing signature of the LED daytime running lights. The front fascia also gets more precisely and elegantly sculpted surfaces, with less plastic inserts. This gives the Mokka X a wider, more solid and masculine stance. It is continued at the rear with another double wing signature also features in the tail lamps – optionally available with LED technology.

Unmistakable: The double wing signature also features in the tail lamps of the new Opel Mokka X.
The body side retains its sculpted and elegant traits and sporty edge with muscular and athletic lower body lines, energized by Opel’s typical ‘blade’ that sweeps upwards to the rear. New vibrant colors such as ‘Amber Orange’ or ‘Absolute Red’ add to the desirability of the Opel Mokka X.¨

On the inside, the Opel Mokka X’ ambiance has been totally redefined. A completely new dashboard inspired by the new Astra makes its debut. The new instrument panel is organized around more horizontally shaped elements. It looks both simpler and purer, as well as sharper and more precise in its execution. The center stack has been redeveloped completely around the 7 and 8 inch touchscreens of the new generation infotainment systems. It now impresses with refined elegance and a purer design with less buttons – many functions are now accessible via the capacitive touchscreens.

New six-speed automatic with adaptive all-wheel drive

Adventurous: The front fascia has more precisely and elegantly sculpted surfaces, with less plastic inserts giving the new Opel Mokka X a wider, more solid and masculine stance
After the introduction of the new generation 1.6 CDTI “whisper diesel”  units with 81 kW/110 hp and 100 kW/136 hp, the powertrain portfolio of the Opel SUV will now be extended on the gasoline side. The new generation 112 kW/152 hp 1.4 liter Direct Injection Turbo that recently made its debut in the new Astra will be available in combination with a six-speed automatic transmission, Start/Stop and adaptive all-wheel drive (CO2 emissions and fuel consumption combined according to preliminary data: 154 g/km, 6.6 l/100 km).

Versatile: New Opel Mokka X is available with adaptive all-wheel drive, making it the ideal vehicle for any terrain
The all-wheel drive technology with an electro magnetic multi-plate clutch is clever and efficient. When the road surface is dry, the front wheels drive the vehicle forward (except when starting when the car is in AWD) meaning that fuel consumption remains low. Depending on the road conditions the range automatically and seamlessly varies from 100 percent front-wheel drive on dry road surfaces benefitting fuel consumption to a maximum distribution of torque of 50 percent on the front and rear axle, for example when the roads are covered in a thick film of water.

AFL LED headlamps and new generation Opel Eye front camera increase safety

In addition to the AWD system, the Opel engineers have once again followed Opel’s strategy of making innovative technology available to a broad group of buyers by introducing Adaptive Forward Lighting LED headlamps. The new AFL LED system adapts the headlights lighting patterns automatically to the driving situation so that the best possible light performance is given without glaring other drivers. It features nine different functions/lighting patterns such as town light, country light, tourist mode, a curve and cornering function, backing-up /maneuvering light and a stop mode light (eco). This LED system replaces the previous BiXenon AFL. On one hand, LED features a light quality that allows seeing the ‘true’ colors of things, to the benefit of visual comfort. In addition, as there is no mechanical operation within the lamp module, it is faster and more accurate in its reaction, while also being highly reliable over time.

Eye-catching: The front fascia with more precisely and elegantly sculpted surfaces and less plastic inserts along with the wing-shaped horizontal front grille and the double wing signature of the LED daytime running lights make the new Opel Mokka X even more desirable.
Furthermore, the new generation of the Opel Eye front camera with a higher resolution and an increased image processing power has a positive impact on all the functions it supports, including the High Beam Assist of the AFL LED lighting system. Due to the improved camera and the optional navigation support, the enhanced Traffic Sign Assistant (TSA) of the Opel Mokka X has a further increased detection rate. The Following Distance Indication (FDI) utilizes the front camera to detect moving lead vehicles, and the Forward Collision Alert (FCA) is now enhanced with a reflective LED Alert Display. When the distance between the car and the vehicle ahead diminishes too quickly, red LEDs reflect in the windscreen. In addition, an audible caution alerts the driver that braking is necessary. The Lane Departure Warning (LDW) is activated automatically at speeds over 60 km/h and warns the driver, in case the lane if left unintentionally with a telltale in the instrument panel and an audible warning.

Best connected and most comfortable car in the segment

Just like the new Opel Astra, the Mokka X will be available with all Opel OnStar services from its launch. In addition, two versions of the new generation of the IntelliLink infotainment system will celebrate their debut in the Mokka X. IntelliLink will bring the world of smartphones to the car via both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone projection.

Elegant: The center stack of the new Mokka X has been redeveloped completely around the 7 and 8 inch touchscreens of the latest generation infotainment systems.
Apart from being the best connected car in the sub-compact SUV segment the new Mokka X can also claim to be one of the most comfortable. Like in most Opel models, the AGR (Campaign for Healthier Backs lead by independent back health experts) tested and certified ergonomic seats, unique in the segment, make long highway journeys just as enjoyable as excursions into rough terrain. Opel Mokka X also receives a further comfort feature: Keyless Open and Start. The driver does not need to actively press the button on his car key to open or lock his car. He just keeps the key in his pocket or bag and presses the small button on any door handle to enable or disable access to the passenger and cargo compartments of his vehicle. The vehicle’s start / ignition interface is also keyless.

With its new design, complemented powertrain lineup, proven off-road capabilities, outstanding connectivity offer and its outstanding comfort features the new Opel Mokka X comes with the perfect prerequisites to continue the winning ways of its predecessor, which, amongst others, won two “All-wheel Drive Car of the Year” awards and two “Company Car of the Year” awards in Germany.