BERLIN (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co.'s money-losing Opel unit overtook Fiat S.p.A. as the top discounter in Germany last month as the brand seeks to halt a slide in sales.
Opel dealers' discounts in May averaged 12.8 percent off the list price, undercutting the 12.4 percent savings from Fiat, the traditional incentive leader in Germany, according to trade publication Autohaus PulsSchlag. The industry averaged rebates of 10.9 percent, the researcher said in its monthly survey.
Uncertainty surrounding the brand contributed to a 41 percent sales slide in Germany through May even after rolling out a new version of its best-selling Astra compact.
GM, working toward an initial public offering, decided last week to fund Opel's restructuring itself, after failing to secure 1.8 billion euros ($2.2 billion) in aid from European countries.
“The Opel brand, which was already weakened by quality issues, has suffered considerable damage in the year and a half- long aid pursuit,” said Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Research at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany. “The withdrawal of the aid request offers a chance for a new beginning, but it will be a long road.”
The survey, based on responses from dealers, isn't representative of Opel's sales activities, said an Opel spokesman, Ulrich Weber, adding that Opel itself didn't increase incentives or offer special financing conditions like some of its competitors did.