General Motors Co. (GM)’s Opel unit is refreshing the mid-sized Insignia with new engines and dashboard instruments to win customers back to an auto brand tainted by more than a decade of losses that put its survival in question.
Production of the revamped Insignia, Opel’s most expensive car with a starting price of 24,325 euros ($32,500) including sales tax, began today at the plant at company headquarters in the Frankfurt suburb of Ruesselsheim. The model is the eighth in an 11-car line-up that the company has introduced or updated in the past three years in a strategy to counter consumer doubts about the division’s future since an aborted disposal in 2009.
GM’s European operations, consisting mainly of Opel and its U.K. sister brand Vauxhall, have lost more than $18 billion since 1999. The two nameplates’ annual western European deliveries fell by about half from that year until 2012, compared with an industrywide drop of 17 percent, and their market share narrowed to 6.7 percent from 10.9 percent, according to data from the ACEA regional automaker trade group.
Reporting by Dorothee Tschampa, Bloomberg News.