The next array of South Africa’s most popular half ton bakkie to grace showroom floors across the country will be branded Chevrolet.
Produced at the same GM factory in Struandale, Port Elizabeth, the Opel Corsa Utility, will be branded Chevrolet Corsa Utility. The only difference to the vehicle will be the gold bowtie logo which replaces the chrome Opel logo, said Malcolm Gauld, General Motors South Africa (GMSA) vice president of sales and marketing.
“This change is in line with the global positioning of the brand. South Africa is the only market where the vehicle is branded Opel, in all other markets it is branded Chevrolet,” Gauld explained.
Chevrolet is one of General Motors Company’s core brands and the depth of its product offering will continue to expand in the South African market. As the South African Chevrolet portfolio expands, it will undoubtedly become GM’s dominant brand in South Africa.
“The amazing sales and market performance of Chevrolet in South Africa since its return to the market in early 2004 has been phenomenal, clearly showing that South African customers have embraced the bowtie and that Chevrolet is a serious contender in the market. Chevrolet’s share of the passenger market has grown from 4.3% (2008) to 5.6% (2009),” said Gauld.
Chevrolet is certainly not a new brand to South Africans. GMSA started distributing Chevrolet vehicles in the country in 1913 and in 1926 the company commenced local assembly of Chevrolet. By 1929 the South African plant in Port Elizabeth had built 25 000 Chevrolets. However, the company discontinued the Chevrolet brand in the late 1970’s.
“Now, almost seven years after re-introducing Chevrolet into the South African market, Chevrolet will yet again roll off the production line in Port Elizabeth,” said Gauld.
He added that Corsa Utility buyers can be assured of the same great quality as in the past, having won the best in quality award in the light commercial vehicle (LCV) segment in the Synovate quality awards for five consecutive years. In addition, the Struandale plant, where the Corsa Utility is built, was named best local plant manufacturing LCV’s in the Synovate awards last year.
Gauld said that between 2010 and 2012 GMSA will be launching ten new products to the market of which the majority is Chevrolet.
Meanwhile, Opel remains an important part of GMSA’s future with the Corsa passenger vehicle remaining part of the Opel stable said Gauld. “Corsa in particular has been a very important player in our Opel passenger vehicle offering in South Africa. The recently revised Corsa line up includes the new 1.4 powertrain improving power output from 66kw to 74kw, said Gauld.
Clearly Opel is positioning itself for growth and is injecting the bulk of its resources into its products. “We are therefore pleased to announce that we will be introducing the new Astra into the South African market in the near future,” Gauld said.