Opel prices new Karl model to win former Chevrolet customers

Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:06am EST
 
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FRANKFURT Jan 15 (Reuters) - Opel, the European brand of General Motors, said the new compact Karl model will go on sale in Germany for 9,500 euros ($11,100), a price aimed at capturing customers of the Chevrolet brand being disbanded in most of Europe by the end of the year.

The no-frills four-door model can be ordered from Jan. 19, the company said on Thursday. The Karl is positioned below other Opel and Vauxhall cars such as the Corsa, which retails for around 12,000 euros.

Opel developed the Karl to fill the vacuum left by Chevrolet, as rival firms' value brands including Dacia and Skoda have enjoyed robust growth in austerity-plagued Europe.

Despite its German sounding name, the Karl will be built in South Korea, a spokesman for Opel said.

General Motors (GM) stopped pushing the Chevrolet brand in Europe to focus its resources on marketing its Opel and Vauxhall vehicles.

GM tried to launch Chevrolet as a value brand in Europe in 2005 but its sales hovered around 200,000 cars and could only be shifted with heavy discounting and by introducing more upmarket models -- forcing it into a price war with Opel.

GM is now shuttering Chevrolet dealerships in Western Europe. So far the vast majority of 1,900 Chevrolet dealers have switched to selling Opel cars.

Chevrolet cars are still sold in eastern Europe.

($1 = 0.8541 euros) (Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Mark Potter)