Speaker: Robert Hendry
Title: Chairman and managing director, Adam Opel AG
Theme: Opel's new brand strategy will be reflected in its new vehicles and is the company's new mantra
A new brand strategy will reposition Opel as 'the German make with affordable technology,' said Robert Hendry, chairman and managing director.
Hendry has made focusing Opel's image his priority since taking the helm of the company in October 1998. The 'brand renaissance' will help increase Opel's profits and market share, he said.
'Opel is the automotive brand dedicated to making German technology accessible to the broadest, most diverse range of customers,' said Hendry. 'We want to create excitement not only for the driver, but for all the occupants of our cars. We will sharpen our image with the aim of becoming the volume leader in Europe.'
What Hendry called 'the Opel brand essence' is the result of a thorough study of the marque and what it represents to consumers. That study will also affect the future positioning of Vauxhall products in the UK.
Upon his arrival at Opel from Saab, Hendry said he found that 'the Opel brand had lost some its traditionally sharp contours and was projecting a vague profile in the European market.'
After nearly 18 months of study, a brand strategy focusing on Opel's product attributes was developed, Hendry said.
'The brand strategy does much more than position the brand in the marketplace.' He said. 'It also imports vision to the company. It serves as a beacon and a guide for everything our company does, from product development and engineering to marketing and service. Brand architecture is the compass that points us into the future.'
Hendry said Opel's key product attributes are:
Versatile use of space with packaging that maximizes a flexible interior
Driving dynamics that feature responsive powertrains and precise chassis and suspension
Contemporary styling that maintains a family and brand character.
The brand strategy will be reflected in future vehicles Opel rolls out, said Hendry. The lineup will be 'a careful balance between campaign models and niche models, each with its own role,' he said.
Hendry said Opel vehicles also would be equipped with modern, high-tech systems for information and entertainment.
Hendry said Opel's focus on technology would be demonstrated with new communications systems in special Edition 2000 models and navigation systems that will be offered through the entire range.