STUTTGART - Porsche Engineering has been hired by General Motors to help raise the quality of future Opel models.
The engineering arm of the German sports car maker is focusing on the Astra-based Monocab. Opel's Renault Megane Scenic competitor is due in late 1998.
Sources close to the project say the Porsche deal is meant to benefit the whole Opel range. They say it is part of a broad effort to improve Opel's brand image. Opel is worried about new competition in the small-car market from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, sources say.
Porsche was given responsibility for improving the Monocab's ride and handling. The company will also correct quality problems that show up in a pilot production run of 1,000 vehicles.
The Opel Monocab is one of several small, one-box models aimed at the trend-setting Scenic. Most are due to be launched before the end of the decade.
The Monocab is based on the same front-wheel-drive platform as other versions of the next-generation Astra. The first Astra models are due early next year.
The Monocab will be 4290mm long, 1650mm wide and have a 2700mm wheelbase.