Opel launches new incentives

Ruesselsheim, Germany. Opel is introducing new incentives to increase sales volume. "We will start a new sales offensive on March 12, the same day the Astra GTC will be launched," said Opel sales director Jean-Marc Gales.

He said the campaign will run for a minimum of three months. It will replace the "hottest winter of all times" program that tempted interested parties with price advantages of up to 5,400 euros.

"We are focusing for the first time on made-to-measure leasing programs for specific customer groups and the Vectra, Astra Caravan, Meriva and Tigra models," Gales said.

With a down payment of 20 percent, the monthly leasing payments for the Opel Vectra are 159 euros for a three-year contract. The conditions for the Tigra TwinTop, which is available from 89 euros a month, are similar.

Opel cancelled the special dealer bonus on diesel sales, which ranged from 0.3 percent to 1 percent.

"Our diesel share in Germany is just over 40 percent now," Gales said. "We don't want to artificially increase this share further."

He expects "a market share of 10.5 percent in Germany" this year, up 0.2 share points from 2004. Gales said he hopes to increase the share in the fleet market with small and medium-sized customers "to 12 percent from 8.4 percent."

The expansion of the model range should help Opel grow. Opel boss Hans Demant stressed that the new "future contract" that General Motors Europe and the works council recently agreed on will not restrict product planning.

"This is a sacred subject for us," Demant said.

The plan calls for Opel to add at least two or three new models each year, or 30 models and variants by 2010.

Saab and other GM brands will add a further 15 models or variants by 2010.

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