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Opel teases new entry-level hatch

Opel Karl: The new five-door entry-level model expands Opel’s small car range

Opel Karl: The new five-door entry-level model expands Opel’s small car range

Published Sep 12, 2014

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Rüsselsheim, Germany - Opel's new Corsa and spunky three-door Adam are to get another sibling.

The announcement on Thursday of the the five-door, A-segment Karl hatch, due to go on sale in Europe in mid-2015, was accompanied by the outline teaser and video you see here, plus a few, very sketchy details:

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At 3.68m overall, it will be smaller than either the four-metre Corsa or the 3.7-metre, three-door Adam (due for SA release in 2015), but with either four or five seats depending on model and market.

Without quoting numbers ("an extremely attractive price point", says the release), Opel said it would be the brand's new entry-level model; industry insiders are quoting a target price of €10 000 (R142 000).

It will share three and four-cylinder engines with the Adam; expect to see the new 85kW/166Nm, one-litre turbopetrol three leading the range when the production version makes its world premiere at the 2015 Geneva motor show.

WHAT'S IN THE NAME?

According to Opel marketing boss Tina Müller: "Karl is a short, snappy and catchy name that represents Opel brand values: German, emotional and approachable."

It's actually named after one of the sons of the company founder. Adam Opel began making bicycles in 1862; his sons Carl, Wilhelm and Friedrich took what was by then one of the world's biggest bicycle manufacturers into the car business in 1898.

Usually Opel cars are badged as Vauxhalls for the UK market, with the same model names, but the Karl will be badged for Britain as the Vauxhall Viva, reviving a popular entry-level nameplate from the 1960s and '70s.

GMSA, however, says it has no plans at this stage to bring either the Opel Karl or the Vauxhall Viva to South Africa.

STEMMING THE LOSSES

With three small cars launched in less than 30 months, that'll give Opel the strongest entry-level line-up in its history, she says, and one of the youngest in the industry - which should help GM's European subsidiary in its drive to return to profit by 2016 at the latest.

Opel has been running at a loss for years and has embarked on a deep restructuring, closing its plant in Antwerp, Belgium, and its factory in Bochum, Germany, is to shut its doors at the end of this year.

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