Visitors to the press conference given by Opel boss Carl Peter-Foster at Frankfurt were rewarded with a quick look at the vital new Vectra — even though the car is not due to make its show debut until next spring at the Geneva event.
But why was the car not at Frankfurt?
One senior GM Europe executive was not sure: 'Personally, I think this was a missed opportunity,' he told Fleet News Europe.
'It would have given the new boss a great chance to make an early impression. “But then you have to make sure you do not show a car too long before its market launch - and we have quite a stock of current Vectras to sell before the new car debuts, particularly in Germany.'
A concept car called Signum gave show visitors a clear view of how the new Vectra will be styled - particularly from the front. It's a much stronger, more robust design than the current Vectra, although insiders say the cabin of the new car is still below class standards as set by the VW Passat and Ford Mondeo.
'We are not behind schedule with the new Vectra,' said Foster. 'We are building the most modern plant in the world for what we hope will become the biggest selling upper-medium sector car in Europe.
'Over the next few years our whole range will be renewed in the passenger car market, although we will also be defining new segments with 50% of our future portfolio.' (October 2001)