With its new Opel/Vauxhall Insignia, General Motors Europe aims to win back buyers of its former range-topping Omega executive car.
Opel sold the Omega between 1983 and 2003, but it pulled out of the niche for luxury executive cars -- like rival Ford with the Scorpio -- because many buyers were switching to premium brands.
Alain Visser, GM Europes Chief Marketing Officer, said the Insignia is a replacement for the upper-medium Vectra but we also want to win back former Omega customers.
Visser said that was one reason why GM Europe did not keep the Vectra name for the Insignia. We could not win back Omega buyers with the Vectra name, he said.
Opel aims to sell around 200,000 Insignias a year, compared with average annual sales of about 140,000 for the Vectra.
Sales of upper-medium cars are declining fast as buyers switch to premium brands, minivans or SUV crossovers.
In 2007, European upper-medium segment sales fell 8.6 percent to 1,068,502 units, according to Automotive News Europes latest market analysis by segment. Sales of the Vectra and its sister model, the Signum, declined 11.6 percent to 119,078.
GM Europe will not build a large minivan off the Insignia platform. Ford of Europe builds three models on its upper-medium platform: the Mondeo sedan, Galaxy minivan and S-Max SUV/minivan crossover.
We will compensate for that by making the next Zafira medium minivan more upmarket, Visser said.
The Insignia will be sold as a four-door sedan, five-door hatchback and station wagon. The car is the first GM product on the automakers new global midsize architecture.