After three consecutive years of profits at Opel, CEO Michael Lohscheller is focusing on expanding his brand's sales outside of Europe, especially in markets where parent company Stellantis already has sales and financing infrastructure.
Opel's PACE turnaround plan, which was put in place in 2017 when PSA Group bought the money-losing brand from General Motors, calls for at least 10 percent of Opel sales to be from outside Europe by the mid-2020s.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, which led to a sharp drop in global automotive sales, Opel increased sales outside of Europe by 49 percent to more than 55,000 units.
That figure represents about 8 percent of Opel's total sales of 632,687, according to figures from Stellantis. Of non-European sales, 52,408 were in the Middle East/Africa region, with 1,323 in Eurasia and 1,056 in Latin America.
Lohscheller said Opel hopes to build on that increase, although he indicated that additional 50 percent growth might be harder to achieve. He said that while Opel feels bullish about certain markets, economic developments in countries like Turkey require closer monitoring.
Opel said last month that sales of the Corsa small car had tripled in non-European markets in 2020 versus 2019, and said it would be leading the brand's expansion efforts in Japan.