Holden in denial

Opel models will return to Australia in 2015 wearing the Holden badge

Holden has denied it had plans to sell rebadged Opel models when General Motors announced the closure of the German brand in Australia, last August.

But with Holden today revealing the Opel Insignia, Astra and Cascada will return to Australia as Holdens from 2015, Wheels asked the question everyone was thinking: did GM lie about why it ended Opel operations Down Under?

“No, not at all,” Holden spokesman George Svigos said. “We wound up Opel long before the announcement that Holden would cease local manufacturing. This decision to import these three cars was made just weeks ago.”

Of course, speculation that Holden would use Opel models, as well as Korean-made variants, to flesh out its range after the end of local manufacturing in 2017 has been raging for months.

In fact, the statement announcing Opel’s closure in Australia included this sentence: “Opel will now begin analysis together with Holden regarding the potential for future Holden-badged niche products.” However, suggestions the decision had already been made were dismissed as “pure speculation”.

Holden is confident these new rebadged models – which will arrive Down Under in the first half of 2015 – will succeed where Opel could not. During its short tenure here, Opel managed just 2605 sales.

“The difference this time is we have a strong Holden brand already and a big dealer network,” GM’s president of international operations, Stefan Jacoby, told Wheels.

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