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Opel teases new SUV that will come with 7 seats and plug-in hybrid version

Opel showed an early design sketch of its new SUV.

Opel teased a new SUV that will go into production in two years with seven-seat and plug-in hybrid variants.

Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller announced that the SUV will come in 2019 on Thursday during the presentation of the automaker’s PACE turnaround plan.

The concept version, based on new owner PSA Group’s EMP2 platform, is likely to be revealed early next year. The production version will be built at Opel’s factory in Eisenach, Germany.

Lohscheller did not give any details of the SUV, except to say it will offer an electrified version.

The car will replace the Zafira Tourer minivan, which Opel will discontinue as it quickly moves to PSA’s EMP1 and EMP2 platforms.

Besides an EMP2-based SUV planned for Eisenach, Opel said it will build an EMP2-based vehicle in Ruesselsheim, Germany. No further details were given about the Ruesselsheim model.

Under GM, a future flagship SUV was allocated to the plant, which builds the Insignia midsize sedan and wagon. In April, Opel said the Mokka’s successor would be built in Eisenach starting 2019 and a large SUV would be produced in Ruesselsheim at the end of the decade.

PSA CEO Carlos Tavares wants to quickly end production of the current Insignia, even though the latest generation only launched this year to stop payments to GM to license the use of its platform. A new, PSA-based Insignia would give Opel a model that could be sold in growth markets such as China, where GM sells the Buick Regal, which shares its GM underpinnings with the Insignia.

Opel said on Thursday it would sell electrified versions of each of its models by 2024. Its first all-electric car will be a version the next-generation Corsa subcompact. This will be built on PSA’s EMP1 platform (also known as CMP) and will go on sale in 2019. The next Combo small van, which will be built on the same platform, will also have an electric version, a source close to Opel said. The automaker’s first model line with a plug-in hybrid version will be the Grandland X SUV.

The Opel Karl/Vauxhall Viva minicar faces an uncertain future as Opel moves to end imports of GM-based models from Korea, The Karl, which shares its platform with the Chevrolet Spark, is built by GM’s Korean unit. Imports of the Karl are likely to stop very soon, the source said.

Another Opel likely to be discontinued soon is the Cascada compact convertible, the source said.

Lohscheller said all Opels will switch the PSA’s EM1 small-car and EMP2 compact and midsize platforms by 2024 “at the latest.”

Opel wants SUV sales to account for 40 percent of the automaker’s total volume by 2021. As part of its turnaround strategy, Opel’s breakeven target is now based on annual sales of 800,000 vehicles. Last year’s volume was 1.16 million.

Christiaan Hetzner contributed to this report

You can reach Nick Gibbs at ngibbs@crain.com.


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