Opel increases Astra incentives to fight the Golf

Ruesselsheim, Germany. Opel in Germany is offering new incentives for Astra buyers.

Sales of the new Astra are better than Opel expected, but the company wants to keep up pressure on Volkswagen, which launched its new Golf eight months ago.

The latest Opel offer is a package including air conditioning and telematics system worth 1,085 euros for the Astra five-door version.

An early booking incentive is available for the Caravan, which will be introduced in October. Early bookers will get a package including air conditioning, radio and luggage organizer worth 1,940 euros for 955 euros.

Uhland Burkart, Opel's head of sales, said the offers were to compensate for incentives VW is offering for the Golf.

Opel says it will exceed its 2004 target for Germany of 50,000 Astras sales and its European target of 200,000 sales.

Burkhart now expects to sell "55,000-60,000 sold units" in Germany. He said that Opel already sold a total of 160,000 Astras in Europe. He hopes to sell more than 10,000 units of the new Caravan in 2004.

Burkhart said dealers' order books are already filled for the next three months. Some customers have to wait until October for their cars. He said that the Astra fleet business has also increased significantly.

Opel boss Hans Demant believes an expansion of the Astra production is possible.

"We are doing everything possible to adjust the production level to the high demand," said Demant.

He said that quality is the only limiting factor. "Only high quality products leave our plants."