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Business

Opel's new Insignia good for business

General Motors' European subsidiary Opel may find its way out of the economic crisis with its new family sedan.

An Opel Insignia on display in Geneva

The Insignia is a bright light for the German carmaker

The new Insignia model has sold so well that the German automaker is adding three extra shifts this month at its main production facility in Ruesselsheim.

The mid-range sedan was introduced last year to replace the Vectra as the Opel flagship car and was voted European Car of the Year for 2009 by a group of European auto magazines. Customers like the Insignia too, and according to Opel, the company has already received 100,000 orders for the model across Europe.

Beating out the competition

Opel factory in Ruesselsheim

Opel's Ruesselsheim plant has increased production to keep up with Insignia demand

These orders have pushed the Insignia to the top of its market segment and Opel saw an 82 percent increase in mid-sized car sales in the first quarter compared with last year.

The Insignia is winning the hearts of many first-time Opel buyers, said vice president Alain Visser. The new family car is “a symbol of Opel's potential, of what Opel can do,” he said.

A friend in Fiat?

Opel has been looking for a way to cut ties with its ailing mother company, General Motors. GM has received billions in loans from the US government but may still face bankruptcy.

Now Fiat may be interested in taking a stake in Opel. Fiat head Sergio Marchionne told an Italian newspaper on Friday that after forging a deal with the bankrupt Chrysler earlier this week, it was time to look at Opel.

Opel is "our ideal partner," he said.

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