BARCELONA, Spain - Opel AG will add a high-end car to the top of its lineup but below models from General Motors siblings Saab and Cadillac.
The car will debut before 2010, GM Europe President Carl-Peter Forster told the Automotive News Europe Congress here.
GM Europe sources say the car likely will be a crossover or "multiactivity vehicle." They offered no details.
The Signum wagon now is Opel's top model. It is a pricier version of the Vectra wagon with a higher roof line than the Vectra plus special interior features, such as a small refrigerator.
The new model may have a premium version that features all-wheel drive. Less-expensive variants will come with front-wheel drive.
GM Europe's German subsidiary has been discussing its strategy for a new flagship since 2003, when it retired its previous top model, the Omega.
Opel showed the Insignia concept at the 2003 Frankfurt auto show. The project was quietly abandoned, although GM executives say the next top-of-the-line Opel will include some elements from the Insignia. They would not be more specific.
GM Europe believes a new flagship model will increase earnings, boost Opel's image and ease the transition for some Opel owners to Saab and Cadillac.
Opel's next top model will be based on GM's next-generation Epsilon architecture, for which GM Europe has global r&d responsibility.
Epsilon also will be used for the next-generation Saab 9-3 and the next Opel Vectra upper-medium car. Both are planned for 2008-09. If the soon-to-be-released entry-level Cadillac BLS is successful, that car's replacement will use the Epsilon architecture.
Forster also said Opel will launch a two-seat roadster in Europe in 2006. The car will be a version of the Saturn Sky, a rear-wheel-drive roadster GM will build in Wilmington, Del.
The concept version of the Sky was designed by GM Europe's studio in the United Kingdom under Simon Cox. It was developed as a production car for Saturn and Opel/Vauxhall with much styling input from GM Europe's studio in Ruesselsheim, Germany.
The Sky is built on GM's Kappa rwd architecture.