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Opel cemented its commitment to South Africa, revealing plans to further strengthen the brand and grow its market presence in the country with a new distributor and new exciting entries to its portfolio.

The Williams Hunt group has been appointed as the dedicated distributor to distribute and sell the Opel brand in South Africa, effective January 2018. Williams Hunt has been a major and outstanding Opel partner in South Africa for many years contributing to some 20% of the sales already today. With this setup Opel plans to further grow in South Africa and strengthen brand and service to its customers.

The German car brand will launch the new Opel Crossland X in the second half of 2017 and the Opel Grandland X in 2018. Opel customers can expect a continued focus on strengthening the portfolio with new and exciting German-engineered vehicles that meet and exceed expectations.

Opel has been one of South Africa’s favourite car brands for decades, with a presence in the market since the 1930s. South African consumers have enjoyed a major product onslaught from Open since 2012 with the launch of 13 new vehicles in the market. The current Opel line-up in South Africa includes the Adam, Corsa, Astra and Mokka.

“Opel has had great success in South Africa,” said Bill Mott, director of international sales operations. “Many of our models have enjoyed great popularity among the buying public and have received rewards and acclaim from the motoring press. Just this year, the Opel Astra was the winner of the South African Car of the Year competition – a great indication of the brand’s ongoing success in this market.”

Mott said Williams Hunt would establish 35 dealerships across the country to distribute and service Opel vehicles. “Under our new structure, Opel owners can expect the same quality of after-sales care and there will be no change to existing warranties and service plans,” he added.

Roy Pepper, the divisional chief executive of Williams Hunt, said the group would not control all 35 dealers, but would franchise some to dealers within the existing GM network. “We will ensure that our customers receive outstanding sales and aftersales support as we continue to grow in the South African market.” added Bill Mott.

Opel is fast on the way to achieving its vision of becoming the number two passenger car brand in Europe by 2022.

In 2016, Opel sales in Europe increased approximately 4% with over 1.6 million vehicles sold, representing the company’s best year in terms of sales since 2011. Opel’s market share grew in 12 markets, while sales grew in 18 markets.

2017 will be the most active year in the history of Opel, with the introduction of the ‘7 in 17’ model offensive. Never before did the car manufacturer launch that many new cars in one single year. Over the past two years, Opel sales in South Africa have grown 9.6%, compared to an overall market decline of 15.5%.

Bill Mott added, “We view South Africa as an important market. We are confident that the brand will continue to grow from strength to strength globally, and here in South Africa, because of the solid foundation that has been built in the 80-plus years Opel has been here.”