The German Opel brand will be distributed in South Africa by the Williams Hunt group, as 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.
GM in May 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 pickups 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 dealers in South Africa. Between 75% to 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.
In announcing the deal in Johannesburg, General Motors Sub-Saharan Africa president and MD Ian Nicholls said Opel had been on sale in South Africa since the 1930s.
Opel international sales operations director Bill Mott said Opel was focused on growing its brand and sales in South Africa.
He said Opel would launch seven new products in 2017. Global Opel sales reached 1.6-million units in 2016. Local sales had grown 9.6% in the last two years.
One of the new models set to make its debut in South Africa by the end of the year is the Crossland X subcompact sports-utility vehicle (SUV).
This would be followed by the Grandland X large SUV in 2018.
The Grandland X shares a platform with Peugeot.
Mott said working together on the Grandland project proved that Peugeot and Opel could work together, and that it was possible to “built great Opel products on Peugeot architecture”.
He added that Opel and Peugeot might share platforms, “but that our products would be different. We will have a German product”.