DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC

Mokka drives Opel into fast lane

Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
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Thanks to the hot-selling Mokka, Opel/Vauxhall has something positive in common with BMW and Mercedes-Benz. All three brands increased year-on-year European sales last month. If the recently launched Adam is equally successful it could be a very good year for the money-losing General Motors subsidiary.

Opel/Vauxhall had a 2.2 percent increase in January sales to 59,212 vehicles compared with 2012, according to market researcher JATO Dynamics. Opel sold almost 5,500 Mokkas in January and also increased year-on-year sales of the Corsa subcompact (up 2 percent to 15,923) and Astra compact (up 1 percent to 16,898).

Earlier this month, Opel said it already had more than 80,000 orders for the Adam minicar, which arrived in showrooms in January. If demand stays strong for the Adam, Mokka, Corsa and Astra, Opel should report positive sales numbers throughout the year.

This would provide a much-needed boost for the automaker, which was the major contributor to GM's $1.8 billion operating loss in Europe last year.

When it comes to the other fast-starting major brands in Europe, BMW increased its volume 6 percent to 46,184 vehicles and Mercedes' sales rose 2 percent to 45,148 last month compared with the first month of 2012.

You can reach Douglas A. Bolduc at dbolduc@crain.com.

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