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GENERAL MOTORS EUROPE WITH RECORD YEAR IN 1991; OPEL/VAUXHALL BEST-EVER SALES OF 1,565,000 CARS

 GENERAL MOTORS EUROPE WITH RECORD YEAR IN 1991;
 OPEL/VAUXHALL BEST-EVER SALES OF 1,565,000 CARS
 ZURICH, Jan. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The General Motors Opel/Vauxhall makes again achieved record unit sales in Western Europe of 1,565,000 passenger cars in 1991 (1990: 1,550,000), the seventh consecutive record sales year for the company.
 The Opel/Vauxhall market share in Western Europe was a best-ever 11.6 percent (1990: 11.5 percent). In an overall Western European market that rose only slightly (plus 0.2 percent) to an all-time high of 13,460,000 units -- mainly due to a record 4.19 million new car market in unified Germany (up by 28 percent from 3.27 million units in 1990) -- Opel/Vauxhall sales increased by 15,000 cars, or 1 percent, in spite of capacity constraints resulting from the model changeover in five plants to the new Astra, the company's largest-selling car range.
 "1991 was another record year for our company in Europe," said General Motors Europe President Robert J. Eaton, in Zurich. "Sales of Opel/Vauxhall cars again reached all-time highs -- despite the changeover to the new Astra -- which clearly demonstrates the overall strength of our entire product range. The German market was again especially strong for us, with a total Opel growth rate of more than 26 percent, or an increase of 149,000 units. All told, we sold 719,000 Opel cars in Germany last year (1990: 569,800), including the five new Federal states, where Opel continues to be the market leader." Since 1989, Opel sales in Germany have risen by over 263,000 cars, or 58 percent, thereby consolidating the company's position and reducing the gap to the market leader (1991 market share: 17.2 percent).
 Eaton said the company's sales success was due to the strong Opel/Vauxhall product line-up, the uncompromising environmental orientation of the company, which is No. 1 in Europe in the sale of cars equipped with catalytic converters, and the emphasis on safety technology that is available to a wide range of customers. For example, the new Astra's standard safety equipment, which includes seat belt tensioners for both front seat occupants, side impact protection steel door beams, height-adjustable seat belts front and rear, and anti- submarining seat ramps.
 "The new Astra is off to a strong start throughout Europe," said Eaton. "Orders and deliveries combined to date total 280,000 units, and we are currently building almost 3,000 units a day in five European plants (Bochum, Germany; Ellesmere Port, England; Antwerp, Belgium; Zaragoza, Spain; Azambuja, Portugal). Demand is still exceeding production capacity, but this should be alleviated when our new plants in Szentgotthard, Hungary, and Eisenach, Germany -- which come on stream during this year -- are able to operate at full capacity in 1993." Total Opel/Vauxhall car production in 1991 was 1,607,500 units (1990: 1,638,500), with all-time high production recorded at the Luton, England (165,500 units), and Zaragoza, Spain (394,500), plants.
 With all-time high sales of 437,000 units (1990: 421,000), the Vectra/Cavalier continued to lead its market segment in Europe. In the Calibra's first full year on the market, the sports coupe had sales of 64,000 units in Europe (1990: 20,000), an increase of 220 percent, making it by far the best-seller in its class. Corsa/Nova sales were also at record levels of 346,000 units, an increase of 2.2 percent, compared with the year before (1990: 338,500).
 In the Netherlands last year, Opel was again the market leader for the 23rd year in a row, with a market share of 13.5 percent and sales of 68,000 units. In Switzerland, 1991 was Opel's 10th consecutive year as the No. 1 make, with sales of 39,600 units and a market share of 12.7 percent. Opel also regained leadership in Belgium, with a market share of 11.1 percent and sales of 56,000
units. The Opel and Vauxhall makes are either first, second or third in 11 Western European countries.
 -0- 1/15/92
 /CONTACT: Jack Harned of General Motors, 313-556-3817/ CO: General Motors ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU:


ML -- DE005 -- 9878 01/15/92 09:50 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 15, 1992
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