The West

Sexier than VW
Interior of the Astra GTC. Supplied picture

Who does Opel think will be interested in its cars? Principally, it's buyers of Volkswagens.

Volkswagen has grown rapidly in Australia since 2004, when it dropped prices and began unveiling an array of high-tech, award-winning models.

Opel has similar claims to German engineering excellence.

Like VW, Opel offers lively, frugal turbo engines, terrific driving dynamics, a solid feel and high-quality interiors for prices slightly higher than Japanese cars.

The two brands also both offer an array of very high-tech options that can take a moderately priced base car to one with considerable luxury and sports assets.

VW wins over its German rival on numbers of dealerships, Australian brand recognition and, most probably, resale value.

However, the Opels in my view are generally sexier-looking inside and out.

Their super sporty-looking three-door models, especially the Astra GTC, would be more emotive purchases than similar-priced VWs.

Some VW buyers, especially those used to Japanese or Korean cars, gripe about servicing costs.

It's not surprising when Toyota can cap Corolla services at $130 each for the warranty period.

To alleviate shocks to customers, Opel says it will announce fixed service charges, though has not given away any hints of price levels.

Other Opel targets are buyers of Czech Skodas, French Citroens, Renaults and Peugeots, and Japanese Mazdas, Hondas and Subarus.

The West Australian

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