Opel Vectra to battle softening market segment

Sales in Germany could reach 50,000 units in 2006

Ruesselsheim, Germany. Opel is aligning its production plans for a still-shrinking mid-range segment, even as it launches a redesigned Vectra. "This year we want to sell 160,000 Vectras in Europe, and we are expecting 150,000 units in 2006," Marketing Director Peter Sommer told Automobilwoche. European sales totaled 190,000 in 2004.

A similar picture is emerging for Germany.

"In the current year, we expected a contraction of 3,000 new registrations, to 45,000 units," Sommer said. He is anticipating sales of 45,000 to 50,000 vehicles in 2006. The high-performance Vectra OPC, with a 255-horsepower V-6 and a top speed of 260 kph (161 mph), is expected to find 500 buyers this year and twice as many next year.

Ordering for the new Vectra began on June 17. There are already about 18,000 orders across Europe. It goes on sale Sept. 17.

The base price for the 1.8-liter model with 122 hp is 23,680 euros, or about $29,400 at current exchange rates, the same level as its predecessor.

For its "first edition," Opel is offering a price break of 2,115 euros, or $2,600.

The sales success of the newest-generation Vectra will decide the future of Opel's Ruesselsheim, Germany, plant.

The factory is the only site where the Vectra is being built in all four body styles -- hatchback, sedan, wagon and long-wheelbase sedan, sold as the Signum.

Tags: Marketing