GENEVA, March 4 General Motors brand Opel
aims to match last year's sales level of more than 1 million
vehicles in Europe in 2013 thanks to the launch of the new Adam
subcompact and Cascada cabriolet models.
"Of course it depends to a degree on the industry," said
Opel sales chief Duncan Aldred on the sidelines of a media event
in Geneva on Monday, adding the overall car market in Europe
could decline by as much as ten percent over 2012.
"What I definitely do expect is to grow our market share,"
Opel and its UK sister Vauxhall forecast a boost in
particular from its last two model launches, the Mokka
subcompact SUV and the Adam.
Orders for the Mokka have nearly hit 90,000 cars, right at
the limit of its full-year production capacity. Orders for the
Adam reached about 30,000 so far and the model is only now about
to hit dealer showrooms in the UK.
All major euro zone car markets were running below
expectations, but the Opel sales chief said that the company's
business already built a cushion into its forecast, even if this
had nearly melted away in the months since it was first drafted
"We had more optimism that it would come in above our
budget, but unfortunately it's coming down right in line with
it," said Aldred.
"So it's working from the basis of 'plan for the worst, hope
for the best,' but I was hoping there was more strength than
there appears to be," he continued.
Italy in particular was "shocking" after the already bombed
out market shrank a further 20 percent in February year-on-year.
Aldred said the resignation of Pope Benedict as the head of
the Catholic Church helped further depress demand last month.
"It just creates more uncertainty in the marketplace. The
timing didn't help really," Aldred said.
"Not only have you got political elections, but the Pope
resigns for the first time in 600 years, so it doesn't do much
to inspire confidence in the whole country."