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Thread: New Opel/Vauxhall flagship in the cards

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    New Opel/Vauxhall flagship in the cards

    Looks like the folks at Rüsselsheim can finally do what they wanted to do for a long time. This will be their first attempt to build an upscale car a la VW CC since the Senator was phased out in the 90's, so I'm rather interested in how it will turn out. The release date may be years from now, but the report sounds promising. The only think that confuses me is that it doesn't seem to be sure if it's a crossover or a limousine.

    Opel may launch new flagship model with fuel cell system
    Annual sales of 20,000 seen for image-boosting car as of 2016/17

    Automotive News Europe -- July 23, 2011 06:01 CET
    FRANKFURT -- Opel/Vauxhall has started work on a new flagship model that will launch at the end of 2016 or early 2017, company sources told Automotive News Europe. The car may come to market with alternative powertrains such as a fuel cell system to help boost Opel's green image.

    According to internal plans, Opel's management board sees an annual sales potential of about 20,000 units. The new model will be positioned above the company's Insignia midsized car.

    Klaus Franz, Opel deputy chairman and the company's top labor official, said the flagship should be a "technological spearhead" for the brand with hybrid and fuel-cell propulsion systems and lots of other state-of-the-art technologies.

    "Already with the our Ampera electric vehicle, we have shown what we are able to do and enjoy an advantage of two to three years compared to the competition," Franz told ANE.

    Franz said unions will press for the car to be built in Germany. "The workers representatives will support this project to the fullest. A flagship like this can only be built on the Epsilon 2 architecture with long wheelbase. We will do everything to build this car at our headquarters in Ruesselsheim, rather than Mexico or elsewhere," he said.

    Franz sees annual sales of 20,000 for the model as realistic for Opel/Vauxhall in and outside Europe.

    He said it is unlikely to be possible to launch the flagship, which is internally called the TOL (top-of-the-line), before 2016 because of other priorities, such as introducing a new minicar codenamed Junior, as well as new Astra-based convertible and coupe models and a small SUV. "The TOL is a luxury," he said.

    Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dl...#ixzz1T36bnB1o
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    Volkswagen Passat CC? More like Volkswagen Phaeton, or more probably something in between.

    If they do it, it will probably flop badly. The days of the full size, generalist, european saloon are long gone...
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    If you read between the lines, they are not aiming for size, but for tech- very much like the Audi V8 in it's day. You're right when you say that the days of affordable luxury cars that define themself over their size are over, but technically complex cars always have a chance. Audi made it from virtually nowhere, so I see no reason why Opel couldn't. The Phaethon failed because it wasn't special in any way.
    Also, looking at the low volume Opel wants to sell globally, I don't see why it should fail. The Ampera works fine so far, seeing that it's first production year is already sold out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ferrer View Post
    Volkswagen Passat CC? More like Volkswagen Phaeton, or more probably something in between.

    If they do it, it will probably flop badly. The days of the full size, generalist, european saloon are long gone...
    not in America there not. the Passat CC is a seller because all the business men who can't afford Bentleys are buying them. There is a large market for full-sized cars

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    Quote Originally Posted by 250gto boy View Post
    not in America there not. the Passat CC is a seller because all the business men who can't afford Bentleys are buying them. There is a large market for full-sized cars
    I think you confused something. When he said failure, he ment the Phaeton (and there's no denying that it WAS a flop).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commodore GS/E View Post
    If you read between the lines, they are not aiming for size, but for tech- very much like the Audi V8 in it's day. You're right when you say that the days of affordable luxury cars that define themself over their size are over, but technically complex cars always have a chance. Audi made it from virtually nowhere, so I see no reason why Opel couldn't. The Phaethon failed because it wasn't special in any way.
    Also, looking at the low volume Opel wants to sell globally, I don't see why it should fail. The Ampera works fine so far, seeing that it's first production year is already sold out.
    Still, it would be bigger than the Insignia, wouldn't it? And of course more expensive.

    It doesn't matter though, because even if it relies on technology and engineering still the car will most probably be a no go. Take the aforementioned Phaeton.

    This was a completely bespoke car, with a platform that wasn't shared with any other VAG product (the silly Continental came later), and is a car that is a technological and engineering marvel. In fact Piëch set a list of ten parameters that the car had to comply before going on sale. Apparently, they were so hard that half of the engineering team resigned when they saw them (or so they say...).

    And it still hasn't sold at all. Because of the badge.
    Quote Originally Posted by 250gto boy View Post
    not in America there not. the Passat CC is a seller because all the business men who can't afford Bentleys are buying them. There is a large market for full-sized cars
    One, the Passat CC isn't full sized at all. Even for european standards.

    And two, you may be missing a word from ym post, which will explain it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Commodore GS/E View Post
    I think you confused something. When he said failure, he ment the Phaeton (and there's no denying that it WAS a flop).
    Unfortunately.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ferrer View Post
    Still, it would be bigger than the Insignia, wouldn't it? And of course more expensive.
    Given that it would use the lwb version of the Epsilon II, it would be a good bit larger than the Insignia (about the size of the Buick LaCrosse). The expensiveness wouldn't be a problem, given it's function as a tech lab. I don't think that there will be any other luxury vehicle utilizing a fuel cell system for propulsion by the time it arrives.

    It doesn't matter though, because even if it relies on technology and engineering still the car will most probably be a no go. Take the aforementioned Phaeton.
    Audi V8. The Phaeton had good tech, but it wasn't revolutionary. The design is considered way too bland, and it is far too heavy compared to it's competitors (but most people that were in the market didn't buy it because of the design- I mean, it looks like an oversized Passat).

    This was a completely bespoke car, with a platform that wasn't shared with any other VAG product (the silly Continental came later), and is a car that is a technological and engineering marvel. In fact Piëch set a list of ten parameters that the car had to comply before going on sale. Apparently, they were so hard that half of the engineering team resigned when they saw them (or so they say...).

    And it still hasn't sold at all. Because of the badge.
    The Phaeton's badge wasn't the problem, it was the car itself. I mean, here in Germany, VW HAS an upscale image, and the badge is associated with good, rather prestigeous cars. Just look at the sales figures and the public perception of the brand, they say it all. Even fully optioned CC's sell pretty well here. However, the Phaetons design and it's complete lack of character didn't do it any favour. If you look at the much sleeker looking facelifted car, you'll notice that it got a slightly better perception, but it's still nothing special, and that's what will kill it in the end. VW's allmighty strategy of making everything bland failed here. Hard.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commodore GS/E View Post
    Audi V8. The Phaeton had good tech, but it wasn't revolutionary. The design is considered way too bland, and it is far too heavy compared to it's competitors (but most people that were in the market didn't buy it because of the design- I mean, it looks like an oversized Passat).

    The Phaeton's badge wasn't the problem, it was the car itself. I mean, here in Germany, VW HAS an upscale image, and the badge is associated with good, rather prestigeous cars. Just look at the sales figures and the public perception of the brand, they say it all. Even fully optioned CC's sell pretty well here. However, the Phaetons design and it's complete lack of character didn't do it any favour. If you look at the much sleeker looking facelifted car, you'll notice that it got a slightly better perception, but it's still nothing special, and that's what will kill it in the end. VW's allmighty strategy of making everything bland failed here. Hard.
    The Audi V8 was hardly revolutionary either. In fact I would say that its successor, the A8, was far more interesting with the aluminium spaceframe construction. What the V8 was, like most of late 20th century Audis, was a discreet, superbly built, executive saloon.

    The Phaeton is another one of those great cars. It is again not revolutionary, but if you want revolution you'd better look elsewhere, not Germany. The Phaeton relies on engineering. The problem with engineering is that if it doesn't have big numbers or big badges it is hard to see, and that's what happens with the big VW (despite having a good image, VW's isn't the same as Audi's even considering the former in the late 80's/early 90's). However, turbocharge it, slap a Bentley badge in it and put a presposterously big price tag and suddenly it's a success...

    In my opinion the Phaeton is a much underrated car, possibly class leading, and far more interesting than the other Piëch retirement gift.

    PS. If this Opel will indeed carry a fuel cell powertrain and they intend it to mass produce it, I doubt it will be on the market by 2016. More like 3016 at the earliest...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ferrer View Post
    The Audi V8 was hardly revolutionary either. In fact I would say that its successor, the A8, was far more interesting with the aluminium spaceframe construction. What the V8 was, like most of late 20th century Audis, was a discreet, superbly built, executive saloon.
    My book says that it was the first luxury car to utilize awd which is something I'd consider rather revolutionary. Also, it was Audi's first attempt at a luxury car that worked (given that the 200 really wasn't that much of a sucess, especially outside of Germany). The A8 might have been more interesting, but Audi couldn't have built it if it wasn't for the V8's sucess which paved it's road.

    The Phaeton is another one of those great cars. It is again not revolutionary, but if you want revolution you'd better look elsewhere, not Germany. The Phaeton relies on engineering. The problem with engineering is that if it doesn't have big numbers or big badges it is hard to see, and that's what happens with the big VW (despite having a good image, VW's isn't the same as Audi's even considering the former in the late 80's/early 90's). However, turbocharge it, slap a Bentley badge in it and put a presposterously big price tag and suddenly it's a success...

    In my opinion the Phaeton is a much underrated car, possibly class leading, and far more interesting than the other Piëch retirement gift.
    Well-engineered or not, VW should have known better. The luxury market is hard to conquer unless you build something that is completely over the top. Renault had some good ideas in the last decade, but they failed- because they were both too out-of-the-box and not luxurious enough (yes, I'd consider the Vel Satis and the Avantime luxury cars, no matter what the marketing says). What VW did wrong was that they didn't make it as special or brilliant as it should have been in order to be a sucess. I mean, it may be a good car, but it just made no sense at all, given that VW already had a respected luxury car with the A8. Why compete with yourself?
    VW simply remade Icarus's flight. They tried to touch then sun and fell down.
    Shortened: massive, established competition+ lame design+ (relative) lack of ultra-progressive stuff+ in-house competition= programmed fail. There was simply no way the Phaeton could have sold properly.

    PS. If this Opel will indeed carry a fuel cell powertrain and they intend it to mass produce it, I doubt it will be on the market by 2016. More like 3016 at the earliest...
    Opels research vehicle has clocked a lot of testing kilometers, and from what I've heard, the technology is almost production-ready. I think that they've even made an announcement about that, but I'm not sure where I've read that .
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commodore GS/E View Post
    Well-engineered or not, VW should have known better. The luxury market is hard to conquer unless you build something that is completely over the top. Renault had some good ideas in the last decade, but they failed- because they were both too out-of-the-box and not luxurious enough (yes, I'd consider the Vel Satis and the Avantime luxury cars, no matter what the marketing says). What VW did wrong was that they didn't make it as special or brilliant as it should have been in order to be a sucess. I mean, it may be a good car, but it just made no sense at all, given that VW already had a respected luxury car with the A8. Why compete with yourself?
    VW simply remade Icarus's flight. They tried to touch then sun and fell down.
    Shortened: massive, established competition+ lame design+ (relative) lack of ultra-progressive stuff+ in-house competition= programmed fail. There was simply no way the Phaeton could have sold properly.
    I doubt sales forecasts were even in consideration when the Phaeton was green lighted. Forget about marketing, competition, price tag or badge. In objective terms the Phaeton was possibly the best F-Segment saloon money could buy, at least at launch. That it wasn't exciting or didn't have the right badge is besides the point. The Phaeton didn't deserve commercial failure, and I'd argue that if it didn't capture the public's imagination, it was the (potential) customer's fault not the car's.

    You can also add the Lancia Thesis to your list. Also a seriously underrated car, a future classic and the last real Lancia by the looks of things...
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    They could raid the parts bin from another GM division that makes a large, luxury focused car called the Senator... but that would clearly make no sense.
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    I did read that wrong. The Phaeton was a flop and it came out at a time when everyone in America was downsizing because of everything going up in price. Although every once in a while you see an old person driving one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pimento View Post
    They could raid the parts bin from another GM division that makes a large, luxury focused car called the Senator...
    but that would clearly make no sense
    .
    I see you've been following our political news...

    Quote Originally Posted by 250gto boy View Post
    I did read that wrong. The Phaeton was a flop and it came out at a time when everyone in America was downsizing because of everything going up in price. Although every once in a while you see an old person driving one.
    America was on a supersize binge that didn't stop until 2007, well after VW's failed attempt at selling a W12 powered luxo barge. Which BTW isn't a bad car, now available for a fraction of original sticker. Anyway, the Phaeton failed because VW buyers couldn't comprehend paying that much for a rebadged Audi, and Audi buyers liked their grill badges just fine.

    As to Opel/Vauhall trying the same thing... good luck with that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimento View Post
    They could raid the parts bin from another GM division that makes a large, luxury focused car called the Senator... but that would clearly make no sense.
    No diesel? That could be even worse than putting some hydrogen in your tank!
    Quote Originally Posted by csl177 View Post
    America was on a supersize binge that didn't stop until 2007, well after VW's failed attempt at selling a W12 powered luxo barge. Which BTW isn't a bad car, now available for a fraction of original sticker. Anyway, the Phaeton failed because VW buyers couldn't comprehend paying that much for a rebadged Audi, and Audi buyers liked their grill badges just fine.
    Just to keep things clear, the Phaeton is not a rebadged Audi. They only share the drivetrain at most. And the V10 TDi couldn't be had anywhere else (except for the Touareg).
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    Quote Originally Posted by csl177 View Post
    I see you've been following our political news...
    Naww, just a cynic. I try not to follow your political stuff.. I'm generally happier not knowing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ferrer View Post
    No diesel? That could be even worse than putting some hydrogen in your tank!
    I'm sure that could be fixed.. and hell, maybe we'd get it over here! ... If the audience for that car wasn't entirely made up of 65+ yr olds.
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