JOHANNESBURG - Opel was once among the top selling car brands in South Africa, but after being neglected and then dumped by General Motors when it divested, the German brand has been relegated to a low-volume importer in the country.
But now Opel is hoping to find its feet again with the appointment of Peugeot Citroen South Africa (PCSA) as the brand’s official distributor from January 2021. This brings it into line with the international scenario, with Peugeot’s parent company PSA having purchased Opel from GM in 2017.
Interestingly, PSA has just merged with Fiat Chrysler to form a new company called Stellantis. Although there will certainly be technical synergies between PSA and FCA products in the future, it remains to be seen whether the brands will ever fall under a single umbrella locally.
The technical partnership between Peugeot and Opel is already well-established, with products such as the Crossland and Grandland X currently built around Peugeot platforms, and the latest to ditch its GM architecture for some French DNA is the sixth-generation Opel Corsa.
Earlier this week we brought you the new Corsa’s local pricing and spec info (which you can read HERE), and now PCSA has confirmed that the first model, badged ‘Edition’, has been available at dealerships since mid-January, with two additional models to follow.
Priced at R289 900, the Edition is powered by a Peugeot-sourced 1.2-litre normally aspirated three-cylinder petrol engine that produces 55kW, and with a curb weight of 980kg, the car is 108kg lighter than its predecessor.
PCSA move a ‘natural progression’
Opel becomes the third brand to be distributed by PCSA in South Africa, following Peugeot and Citroen.
“It is a natural progression, as the three brands complement each other, each appealing to a specific customer profile” said PCSA managing director Leslie Ramsoomar.
“In addition, it allows our multi-brand dealers to have a single point of contact with the OEM”.
However, the company also assures that there will be minimal disruption for dealers and customers, with no immediate changes planned to the existing dealer network.
“One of our focus areas for this year is training, with an emphasis on quality and customer service, working with the existing dealer network”, Ramsoomar added.