“Expensive repairs are a thing of the past,” said Nick Reilly, head of General Motors' European division, at Opel's headquarters in Rüsselsheim near Frankfurt. “We hope this initiative will convince people to consider purchasing an Opel again.”
The guarantee will be good for all new cars sold from August 1 for up to 160,000 kilometres or until it changes owners – though if a car changes hands within six months of being driven off the sales lot, the second owner can extend the guarantee for a small fee.
It will cover all labour costs and, in the first 50,000 kilometres, all parts as well. Afterwards, the guarantee will pay for a sinking percentage of parts – except for regularly replaced items such as brakes and sparkplugs.
From January through July, Opel sold 131,364 vehicles – down 40 percent from the same period last year, when the so-called “cash for clunker” scheme encouraged many people to buy a new car. Limited predominately to Europe, GM's Opel/Vauxhall unit has not been able to profit from surging demand for cars in China and North America, making its share of its home market that much more crucial.
While announcing the new guarantee, Reilly refused to confirm reports that a factory in Eisenach in the German state of Thuringia would build Opel's new ultra-compact model named “Junior” on Thursday.
“We haven't made a decision yet, but Eisenach is certainly a strong candidate,” he said.
The daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that the car – considered similar to Fiat's diminutive 500 model – had been awarded to Eisenach, meaning it was unlikely 300 of the factory's 1,600 jobs would now be cut as previously discussed.