The distributor of Opel cars in Ireland saw its operating profits rise by 41 per cent in 2016, to over €1 million. It followed a 9 per cent rise in turnover for the year to €131.8 million. Vehicle sales made up €118.4 million, while sales of parts and accessories accounted for €13.3 million.
The Irish operation was part of General Motors at the time, but the car giant sold the Opel brand to France's PSA Group last year.
Accounts filed for General Motors Ireland for the year ended December 31st, 2016, show the company held a stock of vehicles and parts valued at €40 million, up 27 per cent on the previous year.
Opel finished 2016 with sales of 7,888 new passenger cars, representing a 5.38 per cent share of the market, down from 6 per cent in 2015. Last year its market share fell to 4.97 per cent on sales of 6,526. In the first 18 days of this year, its market share had slipped to 3.52 per cent, pushing it out of the top 10 best-selling passenger car brands on the market.
The company also saw a slip in sales of its light commercial vehicles in the past two years. In 2016, it had a 4.53 per cent share of this market, on sales of 1,278 vans, but this dropped to a 4 per cent share last year.
Staff numbers increased by 72 during 2016, with 229 employed by the group, the majority at its Global IT Services Centre in Limerick. This division of the firm is linked to Opel's OnStar concierge service, a feature in most of its new cars.
It allows users to talk directly with a customer service agent, who can locate amenities such as hotels or restaurants and input the co-ordinates directly into the car’s sat-nav. The agents also alert emergency services if the vehicle is involved in an accident.
In an interview this week with The Irish Times, the newly-appointed managing director Opel's Irish operations, Stephen Norman, refused to be drawn on whether Brexit would mean more of these roles will move from the firm's call centre in Luton to Limerick.
“Obviously, there are a number of hypotheses concerning Brexit today, but there’s not enough clarity as to what is going to happen,” he said. “It will clearly have a major effect on the Vauxhall business, and we’ll have to see what effect it will have on the Opel business in Ireland.”