Opel’s new Karl will cost under €10,000

Opel's new Karl will cost under €10,000

Opel will launch its new entry-level Karl minicar next summer at a starting price of less than 10,000 euros in Germany including tax.

Opel today released pictures and details of the Karl, which will also be sold by sister brand Vauxhall in the UK as the Viva.

The Karl completes the carmaker’s small car lineup that includes the Adam minicar and Corsa subcompact. Opel aims to attract new customers to the brand that otherwise might buy a Citroen C1 or Hyundai i10.

“We haven’t had a car in that price range for a long time, and that is very important since it is something of a magic threshold. Many customers looking for a car in that class will not even consider a particular model if it costs over €10,000,” an Opel spokesman said.

The Karl, which will be built in South Korea and hit German Opel showrooms in June at the earliest, should also appeal to previous Chevrolet Spark owners shopping for a new value-oriented car that otherwise would have migrated to a non-GM brand.

“Since Chevrolet doesn’t exist in Europe any more, we want to do everything to ensure they now become Opel customers” the spokesman said. Opel parent General Motors has said it will stop selling Chevrolet cars in Europe at the end of next year to focus on Opel.

At 3680mm long, the five-door Karl will be slightly shorter than the Adam, which is 3700mm long, but it has a roomier interior and seats up to five people, one more than the Adam, which is positioned more upscale with prices starting at 11,750 euros.

To save costs the Karl will initially be offered with the 1.0-liter three-cylinder Ecotec gasoline engine recently introduced into the Adam, without the turbocharger and only 75 horsepower.

It comes with features such as Opel’s infotainment system IntelliLink, which integrates Apple iOS and Android devices with the car, and is also equipped with ESP and Hill Start Assist, which prevents the car from rolling back when starting on a slope. Further options can be selected including lane departure warning, or heated front seats and steering wheel.

Opel’s spokesman said the Karl is the first car to be built off a new GM vehicle architecture.

“The Opel Karl is the ideal car for price sensitive customers that are looking to combine practicality with every day comfort and modern technologies,” said Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann in a statement.

The name Karl pays homage to one of founder Adam Opel’s sons who helped establish the company in 1862. Karl is a short, snappy and catchy name that represents Opel brand values: German, emotional and approachable,” said Tina Mueller, Opel’s chief marketing officer, in the statement. Vauxhall is reviving the Viva name it used from 1963 to 1979.

Opel is expanding its lineup as part of GM’s plans to restore profitability at its European operations by 2016. GM lost $305 million in Europe in the second quarter, up from a $114 million loss a year earlier largely because of costs related to the closure of an assembly plant in Bochum, Germany.