Peter Christian Küspert is Managing Director Sales and Marketing of Opel Automobile GmbH.
Opel Post: The first photographs of the new Opel Combo Life have been published. What does the newcomer mean for our company?
Peter Küspert: We will take our business to the next level with the new Opel Combo. It continues our tradition of practical vehicles with great user value. Whether as a Combo Life for families with high demands on spaciousness and comfort, or as a transporter: the newcomer has the potential to truly accelerate the growth of our brand. With the new Combo, we can revitalise the important segment of small vans.
A sector where Opel has struggled somewhat in the past …
True. However, that is about to change. The new Combo will appeal to many of our customers and will also win over new customers for the Opel brand. The potential especially for leisure activity vans is enormous. To date, not even one Combo in ten was sold as a passenger car version, whereas this share is almost 40 percent for the Peugeot Partner and Citroën Berlingo. In addition, Combo sales so far failed to reach ten percent of the sales volume of these two. Indeed, in 17 countries the Berlingo is Citroën’s second best-selling model behind the C3. In total, more than 3.3 million units have been produced since the market launch of the first Berlingo in 1996.
What are the concrete advantages of the cooperated with Peugeot and Citroën?
As you know, the new Combo is the third vehicle developed together with Groupe PSA after the Crossland X and the Grandland X. The new Combo, the new Berlingo and the new Peugeot Rifter are based on a single development programme. All three are based on the EMP2 (“Efficient Modular Platform”) platform. This improves the efficiency of vehicle development investments and resources. Nevertheless, the trio are very different models and perfectly embody the DNA of each of our brands.
Which technology highlights can we expect?
The fifth-generation Combo is a colossal leap forward. It is by far the best Combo we have ever had and sets the bar several levels higher – not only in safety and comfort. It also offers top technologies and driver assistance systems such as Driver Drowsiness Alert, Rear View Camera with 180° bird’s-eye view, Head up display or IntelliGrip. Furthermore, the new Combo will be available with an eight-speed automatic transmission, a short or long wheelbase and a five or seven-seater.
Sounds like a true challenger …
The new Combo is a colossal leap forward – and a huge chance for Opel. The Combo Life and the commercial vehicle variant later this year are therefore key pillars of our ambitious growth strategy in the area of light commercial vehicles, which we defined in the PACE! plan: We want to increase our 2017 LCV sales by more than 25 percent by 2020.
Peter Christian Küspert was born in 1961 in Selb in the German Fichtel Mountain region. He has extensive experience in the automotive industry, working at Daimler AG from 1990 to 2009 – including as Head of Business Strategy for the Mercedes-Benz, Maybach and Smart brands from 1999 to 2001. In November 2013, Küspert joined Opel to manage the Sales & Aftersales division. Since September 2017, he has also been responsible for the Marketing division. The passionate sportsman spends his free time skiing, playing golf and scuba diving.