Handelsblatt Auto Summit 2021: Opel boss Hochgeschurtz wants to significantly shorten the delivery time of e-cars

Munich Like the rest of the industry, the car manufacturer Opel is currently suffering from two major problems: the consequences of the corona pandemic and the shortage of semiconductors. “Both topics have a very significant influence on our production and sales volumes,” said company boss Uwe Hochgeschurtz on Thursday at the Handelsblatt Auto Summit. In other words: The Stellantis subsidiary can currently sell far fewer vehicles than is theoretically possible.

The demand for electric cars is particularly high at Opel. The result: According to the new car comparison portal Carwow, interested parties recently had to wait an average of five months or more for models like the Corsa-e. The delivery time for the two electric vans Zafira-e Life and Combo-e Life is currently up to ten months. It takes three months for the Mokka-e compact SUV.

Opel boss Hochgeschurtz is now promising improvement. “The semiconductor crisis is a major turning point for us, but we are available with our electric vehicles,” explained the manager. In the case of the two bestsellers in passenger cars in particular – the Corsa-e and the Mokka-e – Opel will in future be “able to deliver within twelve weeks”, announced Hochgeschurtz. This shortens the waiting time for many customers by at least eight weeks.

Opel wants to implement this project by the long-established company from Rüsselsheim directing all available chips into electric cars with priority. “A very simple example: There is an air conditioning system in every car today. If you have ten orders, but only five chips, then we put these five chips in the electric vehicles, ”explained Hochgeschurtz.

Top jobs of the day

Find the best jobs now and
be notified by email.

The 58-year-old wants to help electric cars achieve a breakthrough faster. “Incoming orders are increasing much more rapidly for purely electrically powered battery vehicles than for classic combustion engines,” said Hochgeschurtz. Opel currently has nine electrified models on offer. Each series should then also be available as a power variant by 2024.

Hochgeschurtz is convinced that the future belongs to the electric car

Hochgeschurtz is relaxed about the impending bans on combustion engines in some markets by the end of the decade. “We are prepared for it. We have the right product portfolio, ”said the manager. From 2028, the brand with the lightning bolt will be purely electric anyway. “That only applies to Western Europe at first. Nevertheless, this is a very important step, ”emphasized the former managing director of Renault in Germany.

Hochgeschurtz is convinced that the future belongs to the electric car. He does not share the fear of insufficient ranges. The topic will “lose importance” in the future, said the manager. On the one hand, because the expansion of charging points is progressing; on the other hand, because the loading speed will increase quickly. “For example, we aim to be able to charge up to 30 kilometers in one minute in the future,” stated Hochgeschurtz.

That would mean: In ten minutes the battery could be so full that you can travel 300 kilometers with it. “That will completely defuse the issue of charging and range. Great things are going to happen there ”, enthused Hochgeschurtz. However, the manager left it open when exactly the faster charging technology will be available for customers in everyday life.

Hochgeschurtz has only been Opel’s new front man since September. His predecessor Michael Lohscheller surprisingly switched to the Vietnamese car maker Vinfast Global, among other things because he had lost control of his own development at Opel. Hochgeschurtz, on the other hand, has fewer problems dealing primarily with sales, marketing and design of the second oldest German vehicle manufacturer after Daimler.

The native of Cologne has taken on a difficult task in Rüsselsheim. After years of high losses, Opel has been profitable again since 2018, but sales of the brand are still stagnating at a historically low level. In the first eight months, Opel was only able to sell 341,000 cars in its core market of Europe. This is an increase of 16 percent compared to the same period of the previous year, but it is 260,000 units less than in the same period in 2019 – i.e. before the corona and chip crisis.

Opel’s market share in Europe has plummeted from 5.5 to 4.2 percent in the past two years alone. After all: In Germany, the Hessians were able to score last. Overall, however, no clear upward trend is discernible. The shedding of 2,100 jobs by the end of the year is also making slow progress.

The union and works council also vehemently reject the plan to outsource production in Rüsselsheim and Eisenach to separate legal companies. They fear that this could undermine codetermination and initiate something like the break-up of Opel. Company boss Hochgeschurtz contradicts energetically, but at the same time makes it clear that Opel has to become more competitive in the Stellantis group.

More: Dispute over combustion engines between BMW, Volkswagen and Daimler

Leave A Comment