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Opel sale a potential gem of an opportunity
Big savings can be had with the Insignia sedan.

The ultra-competitiveness of the Australian car market was highlighted in a big way in September when Opel announced it would be shutting up shop less than a year after first opening its doors here.

However, the German marque's demise locally could prove a blessing for buyers looking to get into a European car at a fraction of the usual cost.

Whenever a car company goes belly-up there is always leftover stock which needs to be cleared from showrooms. Opel's end was faster than most and, as such, hundreds of leftover vehicles remain in dealerships across WA.

Eleven local dealerships are participating in the Opel Liquidation Sale, with models available for a fraction of the cost.

It came here with a handful of models - the compact Corsa, small Astra hatch and Insignia mid-sized sedan - and then added OPC performance-based models of each.

Nearly all of the vehicles were well regarded - WestWHEELS had many good things to say about the Astra Sport, Astra OPC and Insignia OPC.

But arguably the straw that broke Opel's back in Australia was its pricing - in a brave new world where premium badges such as Audi have cars listed for under $30,000, Opel was set to struggle - particularly with its projected volume seller the Astra having a similar price tag.

But with prices slashed, buyers may well be tempted to do something they were reluctant to do when the company was operational: consider an Opel.

Pricing includes the Corsa at $15,990, the Astra for $19,990 and the Insignia for $29,990, all of which are significant reductions, some in the vicinity of $10,000 lower than their initial list price.

Dealers are quick to point out all stock must go and no reasonable offer will be refused.

It's worth noting there are important issues to consider when buying a vehicle from a company no longer operating in Australia. Namely, there are often obstacles with obtaining parts, getting the vehicle serviced by a dealer, warranties can often be changed and resale value takes a hit.

That said, Opel's connection with General Motors, and therefore Holden, means buyers should be able to sidestep many of these problems.

More than 200 participating Holden dealerships across the country, including 29 in WA, will honour Opel warranties and be able to service vehicles.

For a full list of participating dealers, visit opel-australia.com.au.

Despite this, RAC vehicles and fuels manager Alex Forrest, who also writes WestWHEELS' Idle Torque column, urged potential customers to still do a considerable amount of homework and work out the exact ins and outs of warranties and servicing before deciding to buy.

"Careful consideration should be given to purchasing a new vehicle that has little or no direct brand dealership support, particularly with regards to how servicing and warranty claims would be handled," he said.

"Most independent repairers outside the dealer network can carry out regular logbook services without voiding a warranty.

"While it's reasonable to expect participating Holden dealers will honour Opel warranty obligations, anyone considering buying one of the remaining Opel dealer vehicles should confirm the vehicle can be serviced by a reasonably accessible dealer at a reasonable cost.

"Establishing that the conditions of these vehicles' new car warranties are the same as prior to the closure announcement would also be recommended.

"The availability of a dealer network should be considered alongside price, safety and fuel efficiency when purchasing any new vehicle."

PARTICIPATING DEALERS
Melville Holden, Attadale
Bunbury Holden, Bunbury
Brian Gardner Holden, Cannington
Clarkson Holden, Clarkson
Shacks Holden, Fremantle
Gibbons Holden, Gosnells
Mandurah Holden, Mandurah
Metro Motors Holden, Morley
Rockingham Holden, Rockingham
Youngs Holden, Victoria Park
Phoenix Holden, Wanneroo