The German Opel brand will be distributed in South Africa by the Williams Hunt group from January 1, 2018.
US carmaker General Motors (GM) earlier this year sold the Opel brand to French rival Peugeot. Peugeot Citroën South Africa will not, however, take responsibility for Opel in the local market.
In May, GM also announced its departure from South Africa.
GM South Africa (GMSA) is set to become Isuzu Motors South Africa (IMSA). IMSA will focus on the sale of Isuzu trucks and pick-ups in the local market.
These changes required Opel to find a new home in South Africa.
The Willliams Hunt dealership group is responsible for 20% of all Opel sales in South Africa. Its parent company is Unitrans Automotive, which is a division of Steinhoff International.
Williams Hunt will establish 35 Opel dealerships in South Africa. Between 75% and 80% of these dealers will also sell Isuzu vehicles, says Williams Hunt divisional executive Roy Pepper.
Opel parts distribution will be handled through GMSA’s Eastern Cape parts centre, which will become an IMSA facility.
General Motors sub-Saharan Africa president and MD Ian Nicholls says Opel has been on sale in South Africa since the 1930s.
Opel international sales operations director Bill Mott says Opel is focused on growing its brand and sales in South Africa.
He says Opel will launch seven new products this year. Global Opel sales reached 1.6- million units in 2016. Local sales grew by 9.6% in the last two years.
One of the new models set to make their debut in South Africa by the end of the year is the Crossland X subcompact sports utility vehicle (SUV).
This will be followed by the Grandland X large SUV in 2018.
The Grandland X shares a platform with Peugeot.
Mott says working on the Grandland project proved that Peugeot and Opel can work together, and that it is possible to “build great Opel products on Peugeot architecture”.
He adds that Opel and Peugeot may share platforms, “but . . . our products will be different – we will have a German product”.