Opel

Opel

Overview
Adam Opel AG, generally shortened to Opel, is a German automobile
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 company founded by Adam Opel
Adam Opel
Adam Opel was the founder of the German automobile company Adam Opel AG.- Biography :Adam Opel was born on May 9, 1837, to Wilhelm, a locksmith, and his wife in Rüsselsheim. Adam studied with his father until the age of 20, when he received his travel pass...

 in 1862. Opel has been building automobiles since 1899, and became an Aktiengesellschaft
Aktiengesellschaft
Aktiengesellschaft is a German term that refers to a corporation that is limited by shares, i.e. owned by shareholders, and may be traded on a stock market. The term is used in Germany, Austria and Switzerland...

 in 1929. The company is headquartered in Rüsselsheim
Rüsselsheim
Rüsselsheim is the largest town in the Groß-Gerau district in the Rhein-Main region of Germany. It is one of seven special status towns in Hesse and is located on the Main, only a few kilometres from its mouth in Mainz. The suburbs of Bauschheim and Königstädten are included in Rüsselsheim...

, Germany.

It became a majority-stake subsidiary of the American General Motors Corporation
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

 in 1929 and has been a wholly owned subsidiary since 1931.

In 2010 Opel announced that it will invest around 11 billion Euros in the next five years.
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Encyclopedia
Adam Opel AG, generally shortened to Opel, is a German automobile
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 company founded by Adam Opel
Adam Opel
Adam Opel was the founder of the German automobile company Adam Opel AG.- Biography :Adam Opel was born on May 9, 1837, to Wilhelm, a locksmith, and his wife in Rüsselsheim. Adam studied with his father until the age of 20, when he received his travel pass...

 in 1862. Opel has been building automobiles since 1899, and became an Aktiengesellschaft
Aktiengesellschaft
Aktiengesellschaft is a German term that refers to a corporation that is limited by shares, i.e. owned by shareholders, and may be traded on a stock market. The term is used in Germany, Austria and Switzerland...

 in 1929. The company is headquartered in Rüsselsheim
Rüsselsheim
Rüsselsheim is the largest town in the Groß-Gerau district in the Rhein-Main region of Germany. It is one of seven special status towns in Hesse and is located on the Main, only a few kilometres from its mouth in Mainz. The suburbs of Bauschheim and Königstädten are included in Rüsselsheim...

, Germany.

It became a majority-stake subsidiary of the American General Motors Corporation
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

 in 1929 and has been a wholly owned subsidiary since 1931.

In 2010 Opel announced that it will invest around 11 billion Euros in the next five years. One billion of that is designated solely for the development of innovative and fuel-saving engines and transmissions.

History


1862 - 1920


The company was founded in Rüsselsheim, Hesse
Hesse
Hesse or Hessia is both a cultural region of Germany and the name of an individual German state.* The cultural region of Hesse includes both the State of Hesse and the area known as Rhenish Hesse in the neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate state...

, Germany on January 21, 1862 by Adam Opel. At the beginning, Opel just produced sewing machine
Sewing machine
A sewing machine is a textile machine used to stitch fabric, cards and other material together with thread. Sewing machines were invented during the first Industrial Revolution to decrease the amount of manual sewing work performed in clothing companies...

s in a cowshed in Rüsselsheim. Above all, his success was based on his perfectly customized sewing machines. Because of the quick growth of his business, in 1888 the production was relocated from the cowshed to a more spacious building in Rüsselsheim. Encouraged by success, Adam Opel launched a new product in 1886: He began to sell high-wheel bicycles, also known as penny-farthing
Penny-farthing
Penny-farthing, high wheel, high wheeler, and ordinary are all terms used to describe a type of bicycle with a large front wheel and a much smaller rear wheel that was popular after the boneshaker, until the development of the safety bicycle, in the 1880s...

s. Besides, Opel's two sons participated in high-wheel bicycle races and thus promoted this means of transportation. Therefore, the production of high-wheel bicycles soon exceeded the production of sewing machines. At the time of Opel's death in 1895, he was the leader in both markets.

The first cars were produced in 1899 after Opel's sons entered into a partnership with Friedrich Lutzmann, a locksmith at the court in Dessau
Dessau
Dessau is a town in Germany on the junction of the rivers Mulde and Elbe, in the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt. Since 1 July 2007, it is part of the merged town Dessau-Roßlau. Population of Dessau proper: 77,973 .-Geography:...

 in Saxony-Anhalt
Saxony-Anhalt
Saxony-Anhalt is a landlocked state of Germany. Its capital is Magdeburg and it is surrounded by the German states of Lower Saxony, Brandenburg, Saxony, and Thuringia.Saxony-Anhalt covers an area of...

, who had been working on automobile designs for some time. These cars were not very successful and so the partnership was dissolved after two years, following which Opel's sons signed a licensing agreement with the French Automobiles Darracq S.A. to manufacture vehicles under the brand name "Opel-Darracq". These cars were made up of Opel bodies mounted on a Darracq chassis, powered by a 2-cylinder engine.

In 1901, Adam Opel separated from Lutzmann and signed a new contract with a Frenchman, Alexandre Darracq. The company first showed cars of its own design at the 1902 Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 Motor Show
Auto show
An auto show, or motor show, is a public exhibition of current automobile models, debuts, concept cars, or out-of-production classics. It is commonly attended by automobile manufacturers. Most auto shows occur once or twice a year...

, and started manufacturing them in 1906, with Opel-Darracq production being discontinued in 1907.

In 1909, the Opel 4/8 hp model, known as the "Doctor's Car" was produced. Its reliability and robustness were greatly appreciated by physicians, who drove a lot to see their patients, back when hard-surfaced roads were still rare. The "Doctor's Car" sold for only 3,950 marks, about half as much as the luxury models of its day.

In 1911, the company's factory was virtually destroyed by fire and a new one was built with more up-to-date machinery.

By 1914, Opel had become the largest German manufacturer of motor vehicles.

1920 - 1939


In the early 1920s, Opel became the first German car manufacturer to incorporate a mass production assembly line in the building of their automobiles. In 1924, they used their assembly line to produce a new open two-seater called the "Laubfrosch"
Opel Laubfrosch
The Opel 4 PS, popularly known as the Opel Laubfrosch , is a small two seater car introduced by the then family owned auto maker Opel, early in 1924...

. The Laubfrosch was finished exclusively in green lacquer. The car sold for an expensive 4,500 marks, (expensive considering the less expensive manufacturing process) but by the 1930s this type of vehicle would cost a mere 1,990 marks – due in part to the assembly line, but also due to the skyrocketing demand for cars. Adam Opel led the way for motorized transportation to become not just a means for the rich, but a reliable way for people of all classes to travel.
Opel had a 37.5% market share in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and was also the country's largest automobile exporter in 1928. The "Regent" – Opel's first eight-cylinder car – was offered. The RAK 1 and RAK 2 rocket-propelled cars made sensational record-breaking runs.

In March 1929, General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

 (GM), impressed by Opel's modern production facilities, bought 80% of the company, increasing this to 100% in 1931. The Opel family gained $33.3 million from the transaction. Subsequently, during 1935, a second factory was built at Brandenburg
Opelwerk Brandenburg
The Opelwerk Brandenburg was built, with impressive speed, in 1935 on the initiative of the government in order to ensure supplies of Opel trucks for the army...

 for the production of "Blitz" light trucks.

1935 was also the year in which Opel became the first German car manufacturer to produce over 100,000 vehicles a year. This was based on the popular Opel "P4" model. The selling price was a mere 1,650 marks and the car had a 23 hp 1.1 L four-cylinder engine and a top speed of 85 km/h (52.8 mph). Opel also produced the first mass-production vehicle with a self-supporting all steel body. They called it the Olympia
Opel Olympia
The Opel Olympia is a small family car produced by the German automaker Opel from 1935 to 1940, from 1947 to 1953 and again from 1967 to 1970.The 1935 Olympia was Germany's first mass-produced car with an all-steel unitized body . This revolutionary technology reduced the weight of the car by 180...

. With its small weight and aerodynamics came an improvement in both performance and fuel consumption. Opel receives a patent which is considered one of the most important innovations in automotive history.

1939 saw the presentation of the extremely successful, Kapitän
Opel Kapitän
The Kapitän was the last new Opel model to appear before the outbreak of the Second World War, developed during 1938 and launched in the spring of 1939 at the Geneva motor show. The first Kapitän was available in many different body styles, the most popular one being the 4-door saloon. 2-door...

. With a 2.5 L six-cylinder engine, all-steel body, front independent suspension, hydraulic shock absorbers, hot-water heating w/electric blower and central speedometer. 25,374 Kapitäns left the factory before intensification World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 brought automotive manufacturing to a temporary stop in the Autumn/Fall of 1940, by order of the government.

World War II



World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 brought to Rüsselsheim the only year in the entire history of Opel – 1945 – in which it produced no vehicles at all, since that first Lutzmann-authored Opel was made in 1899. Before the conflict broke out, the Adam Opel AG had established itself as the largest motor vehicle manufacturer in Europe. The combination of Opel know-how with GM resources had produced outstanding results. In spite of stifling red tape, the economic atmosphere in Germany in the 1930s had powerfully fertilized the growth of this and other auto companies. But in the case of Opel, at least, it was clear that the expansion of this industrial machine was not directed in any way toward military objectives.
Even after June 1940, official connections between Opel and America were not broken and monetary gain continued throughout the war which was controlled by the J.P Morgan
J.P. Morgan & Co.
J.P. Morgan & Co. was a commercial and investment banking institution based in the United States founded by J. Pierpont Morgan and commonly known as the House of Morgan or simply Morgan. Today, J.P...

 firm, the Rüsselsheim plant was never given a major role in Germany's war preparations. Neither was Ford's plant in Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

 considered trustworthy enough for a big assignment, such as tank manufacture, in view of their earlier foreign associations. Initially, of course, it had appeared that the war would be a short one settled in Germany's favor. Auto plants were shut down, to conserve resources, but not converted to other jobs.

When in 1942 it became clearer that the fighting would go on for a while, car and truck
Truck
A truck or lorry is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo. Trucks vary greatly in size, power, and configuration, with the smallest being mechanically similar to an automobile...

 factories were switched to war work in a modest way, Opel taking up the production of aircraft
Aircraft
An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...

 parts and tanks. Only at the Brandenburg
Brandenburg
Brandenburg is one of the sixteen federal-states of Germany. It lies in the east of the country and is one of the new federal states that were re-created in 1990 upon the reunification of the former West Germany and East Germany. The capital is Potsdam...

 truck plant did vehicle manufacture roar ahead at full speed. From the end of 1938 onward to big Opel Blitz
Opel Blitz
Opel Blitz was the name given to various German light and middle-weight trucks built by Opel between 1930 and 1975.During the years preceding the Second World War Opel was Germany's largest truck producer...

  trucks had been powered by the same basic 3.6 L engine used in the Admiral. To meet the growing demands of wartime, 3 ST (2.7 t) trucks of Opel design were built under license by Daimler-Benz
Daimler-Benz
Daimler-Benz AG was a German manufacturer of automobiles, motor vehicles, and internal combustion engines; founded in 1926. An Agreement of Mutual Interest - which was valid until year 2000 - was signed on 1 May 1924 between Karl Benz's Benz & Cie., and Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, which had...

 at the former Benz factory at Mannheim
Mannheim
Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. With about 315,000 inhabitants, Mannheim is the second-largest city in the Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg, following the capital city of Stuttgart....

.

One of the most versatile small German military vehicles, the Kettenkrad, a curious but useful blend of tractor and motorcycle
Motorcycle
A motorcycle is a single-track, two-wheeled motor vehicle. Motorcycles vary considerably depending on the task for which they are designed, such as long distance travel, navigating congested urban traffic, cruising, sport and racing, or off-road conditions.Motorcycles are one of the most...

, was powered with a 1.4 L Olympia
Opel Olympia
The Opel Olympia is a small family car produced by the German automaker Opel from 1935 to 1940, from 1947 to 1953 and again from 1967 to 1970.The 1935 Olympia was Germany's first mass-produced car with an all-steel unitized body . This revolutionary technology reduced the weight of the car by 180...

 four-cylinder engine. Produced by NSU
NSU Motorenwerke AG
NSU Motorenwerke AG, normally just NSU, was a German manufacturer of automobiles, motorcycles and pedal cycles, founded in 1873. It was acquired by Volkswagen Group in 1969...

, it had motorcycle-type front-wheel steering for gentle turns and negotiated tight corners with brakes on the propelling caterpillar tracks. The Kettenkrad towed antitank guns and transported troops and signal gear in several theater of war. NSU continued to make it after the war for use in mines and forests. It was one of the few vehicles that could do jobs formerly performed by horses for which, owing to the shortage of oats, there was even less fuel available than for motor vehicles.

As the war progressed, military authorities placed greater stress on the development of air-cooled engines, which they felt had more immunity to damage from weather, shellfire and misuse. To meet this demand, Opel engineers developed an unusual variation on normal cooling for the 3.6 L truck engine. It was called "air-oil cooling," and used engine oil to take heat away from the jackets around the cylinder
Cylinder (engine)
A cylinder is the central working part of a reciprocating engine or pump, the space in which a piston travels. Multiple cylinders are commonly arranged side by side in a bank, or engine block, which is typically cast from aluminum or cast iron before receiving precision machine work...

 barrels. The heads were directly cooled by air, there being three separate aluminum finned heads, each serving two cylinders. Of this interesting engine, which developed 72 hp at 3000 rpm on 74-octane fuel, only three examples were built.

Other special jobs were undertaken at the Rüsselsheim
Rüsselsheim
Rüsselsheim is the largest town in the Groß-Gerau district in the Rhein-Main region of Germany. It is one of seven special status towns in Hesse and is located on the Main, only a few kilometres from its mouth in Mainz. The suburbs of Bauschheim and Königstädten are included in Rüsselsheim...

 factory. One that was too exotic to be typical was the construction of an intercooler for the supercharger of the famous Junkers Juno aircraft engine. Special methods had to be developed to fabricate this vital assembly from very thin sheets of aluminum. With work like this going on, Germany's enemies naturally took note of the various Opel plants and, starting in August 1944, began visiting them by air. The resulting devastation was a tragic echo of the effects of the fire of exactly 33 years earlier. Destruction was heavy at both Rüsselsheim and Brandenburg from the attacks by Allied bombers. Never was the outlook more bleak at Adam Opel AG than in the first months of 1945.

Opel had been transformed and rebuilt before. There was very little, actually, beyond the determination of the men and women who believed in the power of the Opel idea and the 83 years over which it had been created. Many of the tools with which they once had worked were gone. The Brandenburg truck plant fell into the Russian Zone of a divided post-war Germany. It did not stay there long. All the machinery and equipment – right down to the window frames and bathroom fixtures – was dismantled and shipped to a site near the Ural mountains.

Cars as well as truck production lines were lost by Opel. As reparations for war destruction, under plans of the Allied Forces, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 asked the Allied Military Government for the tools, jigs, dies, fixtures, and drawings for the Kadett
Opel Kadett
The Opel Kadett is a small family car produced by the German automobile manufacturer Opel between 1937 and 1940, and then again from 1962 until 1991 , when it was replaced by the Opel Astra.-Original model :...

. This, they said, they would use to begin auto production at an Opel subsidiary in Russian-occupied Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

. The equipment was duly delivered to the Soviets in June 1946, and that was the last Opel was to see of it – but not of the Kadett.

Just a year later a new Soviet car, the Moskvitch 400, rolled off a Moscow assembly line. It seemed to be the Opel Kadett
Opel Kadett
The Opel Kadett is a small family car produced by the German automobile manufacturer Opel between 1937 and 1940, and then again from 1962 until 1991 , when it was replaced by the Opel Astra.-Original model :...

 in every detail, with only the name changed (this is, however, doubted, as various sources provide contradictory information; see the respective article). By late 1950, the Russians were exporting these Kremlin Kadetts to Belgium, stressing in their promotion that spare parts could easily be obtained from Germany. Not until 1959 was a Moskovitch model introduced that bore no trace of Opel engineering. And by that time, Opel was just about ready to introduce a new Kadett of its own.

Only the strong resistance of the American government within whose zone of occupation Rüsselsheim was located, prevented the total dismantling of the entire Opel plant as reparations in Russia. GM had no say in these discussions and was not sure just what posture to take toward its sometime subsidiary. GM's Alfred Sloan recalled:

"(Opel) had been seized by the German government soon after the war began. In 1942 our entire investment in Opel amounted to about $35 million, and under a ruling which the Treasury Department had made concerning assets in enemy hands, we were allowed to write off the investment against current taxable income. But this ruling did not end our interest in, or responsibility for, the Opel property. As the end of the war drew near, we were given to understand that we were still considered the owners of the Opel stock; and we were also given to understand that as the owners, we might be obliged to assume responsibility for the property." It was a responsibility that Sloan and his associates weren't at all sure was worth the risk in the chaos of postwar Europe.

One resource that did not appear on the books of General Motors or on the rolls of the occupying authorities was most responsible for the recovery of Opel in 1945: the extraordinary loyalty of its workers. They were not itinerant opportunists who had looked on their work at Rüsselsheim as just another job. They were men and women who had, for the most part, come from that immediate area, many from the quiet of the country, and had literally grown up with the Adam Opel AG More important to them than their own fates was that of Opel, for its collapse would mean the loss of the most important employer for the people of Rüsselsheim who were finding their way home from the chaos of war.

Just at war's end a small skeleton crew began clearing the rubble from the plant. By May 1945, this work had advanced enough to allow the beginning of production of desperately needed Opel parts. Getting the materials for them was more dependent on barter and black markets than it was on normal sources of supply, which had all but ceased to exist.

After 1945


After the end of the war, with the Brandenburg
Opelwerk Brandenburg
The Opelwerk Brandenburg was built, with impressive speed, in 1935 on the initiative of the government in order to ensure supplies of Opel trucks for the army...

 plant dismantled and transported to Russia, and 47% of the buildings in Rüsselsheim destroyed, former Opel employees began to rebuild the Rüsselsheim plant.

In response to the pressing need for new trucks in a Germany struggling to rebuild, the American authorities governing Rüsselsheim granted permission to the plant to produce a 1.5 ST (1.4 t) truck powered by the 2.5 L Kapitän engine. It was a minor miracle that even this was possible. By January 1946, the plant itself was ready to build trucks but many of the almost 12,000 parts needed to make each one were lacking. Before the big firms could begin, the small ones had to get started too. And illness and poor nutrition so crippled the staff of 6,000 workers that it was normal for 500 to be too sick to come to work and more than 400 to report sick during the day.

Overcoming these and other obstacles, Opel finally celebrated the completion of the first postwar Opel Blitz
Opel Blitz
Opel Blitz was the name given to various German light and middle-weight trucks built by Opel between 1930 and 1975.During the years preceding the Second World War Opel was Germany's largest truck producer...

 truck on July 15, 1946 in the presence of U.S. Army General Geoffrey Keyes
Geoffrey Keyes
-External links:...

 and other local leaders and press reporters. Priced at 6600RM, the truck was designed to run either on gasoline or on wood gas, for which a gas generator could be supplied. With a ceremonial bouquet of flowers flying from its rear-view mirror, this historic Opel Blitz
Opel Blitz
Opel Blitz was the name given to various German light and middle-weight trucks built by Opel between 1930 and 1975.During the years preceding the Second World War Opel was Germany's largest truck producer...

 left the factory gate bound for a buyer in Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden is a city in southwest Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. It has about 275,400 inhabitants, plus approximately 10,000 United States citizens...

 on July 26. Further production followed at a rate of 150 a month, and by the end of 1946 the production total was 839. Frigidaire refrigerators were also being made at Rüsselsheim, as were Olympia engines for the NSU Kettenkrad.

The next step for Opel was the resumption of passenger car production. It might have seemed easiest to bring back the Kapitän
Opel Kapitän
The Kapitän was the last new Opel model to appear before the outbreak of the Second World War, developed during 1938 and launched in the spring of 1939 at the Geneva motor show. The first Kapitän was available in many different body styles, the most popular one being the 4-door saloon. 2-door...

 first, since its engine was already in production for the truck. But occupation regulations restricted German civilians to cars of 1.5 L or less, which made the Olympia the obvious candidate. Under Dr. Ing e.h. Karl Stief, who had been chief engineer at Opel since 1934, useful changes were made to this tough little car. The Dubonnet front suspension was replaced by a conventional coil-and-wishbone layout and the steering was correspondingly rearranged.

Announced in November 1947, production of the post-war Olympia
Opel Olympia
The Opel Olympia is a small family car produced by the German automaker Opel from 1935 to 1940, from 1947 to 1953 and again from 1967 to 1970.The 1935 Olympia was Germany's first mass-produced car with an all-steel unitized body . This revolutionary technology reduced the weight of the car by 180...

, with austere painted hubcaps, began in December 1948 and allowed a modest return to export sales in that year. In October 1948, the Kapitän came back to the Opel lineup, unchanged except for such details as the shape of the headlights and improvements in the leaf springs and dampers. Prices in 1948 were 9950 DM for the Kapitan and 6785 DM for the Olympia (the Deutschmark having replaced the Reichsmark on June 20, 1948).

Other events which would powerfully affect Opel's future were taking place in 1948. In February and March, a GM study group came to Germany to investigate every aspect of Europe's economic situation and Opel's special problems. On their return they submitted a report, on March 26, recommending that General Motors resume control of Opel. On April 5, however, GM's financial policy committee concluded that "in view of the many uncertainties surrounding the operation of this property, the Corporation is not justified in resuming the responsibility for its operation at this time..." GM, it seemed, didn't want Opel.

Second thoughts on this decision leaped immediately into the minds of such executives as Alfred P. Sloan Jr., and Charles Wilson, GM's President. Later in April, Sloan sought to resolve the differences of opinion with a position paper that he hoped would set up conditions for resuming control of Opel that would put at rest the doubts of GM's more conservative financial minds.

Sloan suggested that GM take the helm of Opel again for a two-year "probationary" period to see whether the economic conditions, then called "close to stagnation" in Germany, would improve. Sloan set other important goals: "General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

 should risk no additional capital in Opel. Credit facilities should be available. We should have complete freedom in personnel policies and administration. The products produced by Adam Opel AG should be solely within the jurisdiction of management, and if prices had to be approved by government authority, a reasonable return on the capital should be allowed."

With these guidelines in mind, the Opel question was put again on May 3 to the GM financial policy committee, which then withdrew its objections to a return to Rüsselsheim
Rüsselsheim
Rüsselsheim is the largest town in the Groß-Gerau district in the Rhein-Main region of Germany. It is one of seven special status towns in Hesse and is located on the Main, only a few kilometres from its mouth in Mainz. The suburbs of Bauschheim and Königstädten are included in Rüsselsheim...

. Many, many details still had to be worked out, both within GM and in the U.S. occupied zone of Germany, before this could actually occur. At last, the official word was released on November 1, 1948: GM resumed management control of Adam Opel AG Edward W. Zdunek, formerly regional manager for Europe of General Motors Overseas Operations Division, was named managing director.

The appointment of Zdunek to this post was a move of special significance. An experienced motor industry executive, he was not merely liked but indeed loved by those who worked for him. The sensitive hand of Ed Zdunek was the perfect choice to guide the fragile Opel ship through the roiling waters of postwar Germany. He continued in that critical position until 1961.

Changes in the Opel cars under GM's management didn't appear until January 1950, when a face-lifted Olympia was introduced. Front and rear fenders were elongated and a heavy horizontal chrome grille was added. A retrograde step was the replacement of the four-speed gearbox with a three-speed unit, with a column shift lever. Engine tuning emphasized high torque at low engine speeds so the extra ratio wasn't too sorely missed. The cabrio-coach model was returned to the Olympia range and a kombi was also offered, built by Karosserie Miesen. In February 1951, in preparation for the first postwar automobile show in Germany, the Olympia was dressed up further with a trunk compartment that enclosed the spare tire and 15 in (38.1 cm) wheels instead of 16 in (40.6 cm) wheels and tires. With minor further changes, this model lasted to March 1953.

Detail improvements, such as a new dashboard and a steering column shift, embellished the Kapitän line in May 1950. Bigger changes were saved for March 1951, to anticipate the opening of the doors of the Frankfurt show on April 19 for an 11-day run. Its earlier fast-back style was modified to a mild notch-back contour, and a new horizontal grille – not the prettiest in Opel history – dominated the frontal view. With a higher compression ratio (still only 6.25:1), engine power was 58 bhp at 3700 rpm and top speed was 80 mph (128.7 km/h). Output increased to 60 bhp during the further life of this model, which ended in July 1953.

More or less by 'fait accompli', in the absence of the tools to build the Kadett, Opel found itself in the middle-priced bracket in Germany's postwar auto market, sandwiched between VW
Volkswagen
Volkswagen is a German automobile manufacturer and is the original and biggest-selling marque of the Volkswagen Group, which now also owns the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, and Škoda marques and the truck manufacturer Scania.Volkswagen means "people's car" in German, where it is...

 and Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz is a German manufacturer of automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks. Mercedes-Benz is a division of its parent company, Daimler AG...

. This was a position that was not unfamiliar to both GM and Opel, and one in which it did amazingly well. In 1953, output rose above 100,000 units for the first time since the war, and in 1954, when the sprawling plant by the Main River was considered completely rebuilt, 24,270 were employed at Adam Opel AG and 167,650 vehicles were built—an all-time high. Opel had looked the spectre of oblivion in the eye and come back stronger than ever.

Company



Adam Opel AG is one of the most traditional car manufacturers in Germany, and one of Europe’s largest automakers. The company operates 11 vehicle, powertrain, and component plants and three development centers in six countries, and employs around 40,000 people (as of December 2010). Many additional jobs are provided by some 5,000 independent sales and service outlets as a direct result of their business with the automaker. Opel sells vehicles in more than 40 markets worldwide. The company's factory in Rüsselsheim has been transformed to one of the most modern plants in the world for €750 million and started production in 2002. The capacity is around 180,000 vehicles a year. Other Opel plants are in Bochum
Bochum
Bochum is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, western Germany. It is located in the Ruhr area and is surrounded by the cities of Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Herne, Castrop-Rauxel, Dortmund, Witten and Hattingen.-History:...

, Eisenach
Eisenach
Eisenach is a city in Thuringia, Germany. It is situated between the northern foothills of the Thuringian Forest and the Hainich National Park. Its population in 2006 was 43,626.-History:...

, and Kaiserslautern
Kaiserslautern
Kaiserslautern is a city in southwest Germany, located in the Bundesland of Rhineland-Palatinate at the edge of the Palatinate forest . The historic centre dates to the 9th century. It is from Paris, from Frankfurt am Main, and from Luxembourg.Kaiserslautern is home to 99,469 people...

, Germany; Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

/Aspern
Aspern
Aspern is part of Donaustadt, the 22nd district of Vienna.In 1904, the formerly independent village was incorporated into Vienna as part of the 21st district, Floridsdorf. Only in 1946 did it become part of the newly created 22nd district, Donaustadt. The area is known because of the Battle of...

, Austria; Szentgotthard
Szentgotthárd
Szentgotthárd is the westernmost town of Hungary. It is situated on the Rába River near the Austrian border, and is home to much of Hungary's small Slovene ethnic minority....

, Hungary; Zaragoza
Zaragoza (province)
Zaragoza is a province of northern Spain, in the central part of the autonomous community of Aragon.Its capital is Zaragoza, which is also the capital of the autonomous community. Other towns in Zaragoza include Calatayud, Borja, La Almunia de Doña Godina, Ejea de los Caballeros and Tarazona.Its...

, Spain; Gliwice
Gliwice
Gliwice is a city in Upper Silesia in southern Poland, near Katowice. Gliwice is the west district of the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union – a metropolis with a population of 2 million...

, Poland; Ellesmere Port
Ellesmere Port
Ellesmere Port is a large industrial town and port in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. It is situated on the south border of the Wirral Peninsula on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal, which in turn gives access to the River...

, and Luton
Luton
Luton is a large town and unitary authority of Bedfordshire, England, 30 miles north of London. Luton and its near neighbours, Dunstable and Houghton Regis, form the Luton/Dunstable Urban Area with a population of about 250,000....

, UK. The Dudenhofen Test Center is located near the Rüsselsheim headquarters.

Also located in Rüsselsheim is the International Technical Development Center (ITDC) and the Opel Design Center. Around 6,300 people are responsible for the engineering and design of Opel vehicles. All in all, Opel plays an enormously important role in the global GM corporate group as it has for instance developed and engineered the Epsilon (I) platform
GM Epsilon platform
Epsilon is General Motors' mid-size front-wheel drive automobile platform. The architecture was developed by Opel, and debuted in the 2002 Opel Vectra and 2003 Saab 9-3. Since this platform falls squarely in the center of the worldwide automobile market, GM plans to produce a great many Epsilon...

, Epsilon II platform, Delta (I) platform, Gamma platform
GM Gamma platform
Gamma is General Motors' and Fiat's global subcompact front-wheel drive automobile platform.-GM4300:The first version of the platform was issued in autumn 2000 with the introduction of Opel Corsa C and was a development of the earlier GM4200 platform used in previous Corsa models, developed by Opel...

 and played an important role in the development of especially the higher-end, more-refined versions of the Delta II platform and the Gamma II platform. In addition, the company is developing new manufacturing equipment for the global GM auto production.

So Opel is in most cases fully responsible for all the car architectures and technologies up to the Opel Insignia
Opel Insignia
The Opel Insignia is a large family car engineered and produced by the German automaker Opel. Production of the Insignia began in 2008 as a replacement for the Opel Vectra. Opel launched the vehicle at the 2008 British International Motor Show in London as the Vauxhall Insignia, reflecting the...

/Buick LaCrosse
Buick LaCrosse
The Buick LaCrosse is a mid-size entry-level luxury sedan produced by General Motors. It replaced the Buick Century and Regal in North America beginning in the 2005 model year.-North America:...

/Chevrolet Malibu
Chevrolet Malibu
Malibus and all other Chevelles were completely restyled for 1968 with semi-fastback rooflines on two-door hardtops and wheelbases split to on two-door models and 118 for four-door sedans and station wagons. Engine offerings included a new V8 rated at that replaced the V8 that had served as the...

. In particular, all the future-oriented, modern, full-efficient GM architectures for compact and midsize vehicles are developed by Opel in Rüsselsheim.
Even the idea and concept behind the Opel Ampera is rooted in Opel/Germany with Frank Weber, the former "Global Vehicle Line Executive and Global Chief Engineer electric vehicle development" and therefore leader of the Volt-development, being originally an Opel-employee who was moved to the USA in order to advance the development of this prestigious, revolutionary concept in GM's home country instead of the German outpost that is Opel. In 2009, Weber returned during the reorganization of the Opel leadership to Opel as "Vice President Planning and Commercial Vehicle Operations" for the company. In 2011, Frank Weber left Opel.

Opel established Opel Performance Center GmbH
Opel Performance Center
Opel Performance Center GmbH, commonly known as OPC, is an independent subsidiary of the german automaker Opel, which is responsible for the planning, development and coordination of all motorsport activities in charge of Opel in Europe....

 (OPC) in 1997, which is responsible for the development of high-performance cars .

Opel Special Vehicles GmbH (OSV) is a wholly owned subsidiary, which produces special series and undertakes vehicle modifications. Together with the ITDC, OSV developed the environmentally friendly and cost-CNG-drive concept based on natural gas (Compressed Natural Gas) and was first implemented on the Opel Zafira
Opel Zafira
The Opel Zafira is a compact MPV engineered and produced by the German automaker Opel. The Zafira is sold under the Vauxhall marque in the United Kingdom.- Zafira A :...

 1.6 CNG.

Karl-Friedrich Stracke
Karl-Friedrich Stracke
Karl-Friedrich Stracke is Chairman of the Management Board & Chief Executive Officer ofAdam Opel AG.-Biography:...

 is Chairman of the Management Board & Chief Executive Officer at Adam Opel AG since April, 2011.

Locations

Production site Production since Products Comments Employees
Rüsselsheim
Rüsselsheim
Rüsselsheim is the largest town in the Groß-Gerau district in the Rhein-Main region of Germany. It is one of seven special status towns in Hesse and is located on the Main, only a few kilometres from its mouth in Mainz. The suburbs of Bauschheim and Königstädten are included in Rüsselsheim...

, Germany
1898
  • Insignia
    Opel Insignia
    The Opel Insignia is a large family car engineered and produced by the German automaker Opel. Production of the Insignia began in 2008 as a replacement for the Opel Vectra. Opel launched the vehicle at the 2008 British International Motor Show in London as the Vauxhall Insignia, reflecting the...

     (Sedan, Notchback and Sports Tourer)
  • Astra
    Opel Astra
    The Opel Astra is a small family car engineered and manufactured by the German automaker Opel since 1991.It is branded as Vauxhall Astra in the United Kingdom, the Buick Excelle XT in China and the Chevrolet Astra/Vectra in Latin America...

     (5-door)
Int.Technical Development Center (ITDC)
Headquarters of Adam Opel AG
Test site Dudenhofen
15.600
Bochum
Bochum
Bochum is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, western Germany. It is located in the Ruhr area and is surrounded by the cities of Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Herne, Castrop-Rauxel, Dortmund, Witten and Hattingen.-History:...

, Germany
1962
  • Astra H Classic (5-door, Caravan)
  • Zafira Tourer
    Opel Zafira
    The Opel Zafira is a compact MPV engineered and produced by the German automaker Opel. The Zafira is sold under the Vauxhall marque in the United Kingdom.- Zafira A :...

  • Zafira B Family
  • 3.100
    Kaiserslautern
    Kaiserslautern
    Kaiserslautern is a city in southwest Germany, located in the Bundesland of Rhineland-Palatinate at the edge of the Palatinate forest . The historic centre dates to the 9th century. It is from Paris, from Frankfurt am Main, and from Luxembourg.Kaiserslautern is home to 99,469 people...

    , Germany
    1966
  • Components
  • Engines:
  • Four-cylinder turbo diesel engines (1.9 liter)
  • ECOTEC alloy engines (1.9 to 2.2 liters) in several variants
  • 2.700
    Eisenach
    Eisenach
    Eisenach is a city in Thuringia, Germany. It is situated between the northern foothills of the Thuringian Forest and the Hainich National Park. Its population in 2006 was 43,626.-History:...

    , Germany
    1990
  • Corsa
    Opel Corsa
    The front-wheel drive Opel Corsa was first launched in September 1982 to replace the Opel Kadett C City, and to fill the gap vacated as the Kadett grew in size and price. Built in Zaragoza, Spain, the first Corsas were three-door hatchback and two-door saloon models, with four-door and five-door...

     (3-door)
  • 1.600
    Zaragoza
    Zaragoza
    Zaragoza , also called Saragossa in English, is the capital city of the Zaragoza Province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain...

    , Spain
    Spain
    Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

    1982
  • Corsa (3-door, 5-door)
  • Corsavan
  • Meriva
    Opel Meriva
    The Opel Meriva is a compact MPV engineered and produced by the German automaker Opel. The car is sold under the Opel brand on all of the European markets with the exception of the United Kingdom, where it is called the Vauxhall Meriva, and Latin America, where it carried the Chevrolet badge. It...

  • 6.500
    Gliwice
    Gliwice
    Gliwice is a city in Upper Silesia in southern Poland, near Katowice. Gliwice is the west district of the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union – a metropolis with a population of 2 million...

    , Poland
    Poland
    Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

    1998
  • Astra H Classic (Sedan)
  • Astra (5-door, GTC)
  • Zafira B Family
  • 3.400
    Tychy
    Tychy
    Tychy is a city in Silesia, Poland, approximately south of Katowice. Situated on the southern edge of the Upper Silesian industrial district, the city borders Katowice to the north, Mikołów to the west, Bieruń to the east and Kobiór to the south...

    , Poland
    Poland
    Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

    1996
  • Diesel engines
  • 550
    Aspern
    Aspern
    Aspern is part of Donaustadt, the 22nd district of Vienna.In 1904, the formerly independent village was incorporated into Vienna as part of the 21st district, Floridsdorf. Only in 1946 did it become part of the newly created 22nd district, Donaustadt. The area is known because of the Battle of...

    , Austria
    Austria
    Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

    1982
  • Engines (1.0 Liter, 1.2 Liter, 1.4 Liter)
  • Transmission
    Transmission (mechanics)
    A machine consists of a power source and a power transmission system, which provides controlled application of the power. Merriam-Webster defines transmission as: an assembly of parts including the speed-changing gears and the propeller shaft by which the power is transmitted from an engine to a...

    s (Easytronic
    Easytronic
    Easytronic is the Opel tradename for a type of transaxle-based semi-automatic transmission or gearbox, as used in some Opel and Vauxhall cars....

    , five-and six-speed)
  • 1.600
    St. Gotthard
    Szentgotthárd
    Szentgotthárd is the westernmost town of Hungary. It is situated on the Rába River near the Austrian border, and is home to much of Hungary's small Slovene ethnic minority....

    , Hungary
    Hungary
    Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

    1990
  • Engines
  • Transmissions
  • 750
    Ellesmere Port
    Ellesmere Port
    Ellesmere Port is a large industrial town and port in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. It is situated on the south border of the Wirral Peninsula on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal, which in turn gives access to the River...

    , United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

    1962
  • Astra
    Opel Astra
    The Opel Astra is a small family car engineered and manufactured by the German automaker Opel since 1991.It is branded as Vauxhall Astra in the United Kingdom, the Buick Excelle XT in China and the Chevrolet Astra/Vectra in Latin America...

     (5-door, Sports Tourer)
  • Astravan
  • 2.100
    Luton
    Luton
    Luton is a large town and unitary authority of Bedfordshire, England, 30 miles north of London. Luton and its near neighbours, Dunstable and Houghton Regis, form the Luton/Dunstable Urban Area with a population of about 250,000....

    , United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

    1907
  • Vivaro
    Opel Vivaro
    The Opel Vivaro is a medium-sized light commercial vehicle produced by the German automaker Opel, and sold under the Opel brand in most of Europe, but under the Vauxhall brand in the United Kingdom. It was originally launched in 2001, and is available in panel van, minibus, combined bus/van and...

  • 1.100

    Sales in Europe

    Year Units Market share
    2012
    2011
    2010 1.178.175 6,2 %

    Clubs with the name Opel


    The SC Opel Rüsselsheim
    SC Opel Rüsselsheim
    The SC Opel Rüsselsheim is a German association football club from the city of Rüsselsheim, Hesse.Apart from its association with the company Opel, the club achieved notability by playing in Germany's second division from 1965 to 1972.-History:...

     is a soccer club with about 450 members from Rüsselsheim, which combines a checkered history with the company Opel. The RV 1888 Opel Rüsselsheim is a cycling club.

    Logos


    The first Opel logo contained the letters "A" and "O" - the initials of the company's founder, Adam Opel
    Adam Opel
    Adam Opel was the founder of the German automobile company Adam Opel AG.- Biography :Adam Opel was born on May 9, 1837, to Wilhelm, a locksmith, and his wife in Rüsselsheim. Adam studied with his father until the age of 20, when he received his travel pass...

    . The A was in bronze, the O kept in red.

    In 1866, they expanded and started to produce bicycles. Around 1890, the logo was completely redesigned. The new logo also contained the words "Victoria Blitz" (referring to Lady Victory; they were certain of the triumph of their bicycles). The word "Blitz" (engl. lightning) first appeared back then, but without a depiction.

    Another redesign was commissioned in 1909. The new logo was much more spirited and contained only the company name Opel itself. It was placed on the motorcycles that they had started to produce in 1902, and on the first cars which were produced in 1909.

    1910: The logo was the shape of an eye, and it was surrounded by laurels, with the text "Opel" in the center. A stylized zeppelin
    Zeppelin
    A Zeppelin is a type of rigid airship pioneered by the German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin in the early 20th century. It was based on designs he had outlined in 1874 and detailed in 1893. His plans were reviewed by committee in 1894 and patented in the United States on 14 March 1899...

     in a ring was the company's logo from 1935, when zeppelins stood for innovation and progress. The zeppelin was also used as a hood ornament. The logo's ring symbolized the bicycle and it's meaning to mankind.

    The logo that was used from 1950 was again very simple. It was oval, half white and half yellow. The Opel writing was black and in the middle of the oval symbol.

    Origin of the lightning in the Opel logo:

    In the sixties and seventies, the lightning became more and more important to the logo. It is used officially since 1964. In the 1964 version, the flash with a ring was used in a yellow rectangle, with the Opel writing below. The whole logo was again delimited by a black rectangle.

    In 1987, the logo was simplified. They recuded the logo to the stylized lightning and the ring, optionally also the writing of "Opel".

    Over time, there were only minor modifications: The shape of the lightning was adjusted, and the whole logo was made three dimensional.

    Slogans


    Opel's corporate tagline
    Tagline
    A tagline is a variant of a branding slogan typically used in marketing materials and advertising. The idea behind the concept is to create a memorable phrase that will sum up the tone and premise of a brand or product , or to reinforce the audience's memory of a product...

     is Wir leben Autos, meaning “We live cars”. This German tagline is used in many European countries.

    United States


    Opel cars appeared under their own name in the U.S. from 1958–1975, when they were sold through Buick
    Buick
    Buick is a premium brand of General Motors . Buick models are sold in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, Taiwan, and Israel, with China being its largest market. Buick holds the distinction as the oldest active American make...

     dealers as captive import
    Captive import
    Captive import is a marketing term and a strategy for an automobile part or entire vehicle that is foreign-built and sold under the name of an importer or by a domestic automaker through its own dealer distribution system....

    s. The best-selling Opel models in the U.S. were the 1964–1972 Opel Kadett
    Opel Kadett
    The Opel Kadett is a small family car produced by the German automobile manufacturer Opel between 1937 and 1940, and then again from 1962 until 1991 , when it was replaced by the Opel Astra.-Original model :...

    , the 1971–1975 Opel Manta
    Opel Manta
    The Opel Manta was a rear-wheel-drive sports coupé motor vehicle built by Opel, from 1970 to 1988.-1970–75: Opel Manta A:The Manta A was released in September 1970, two months ahead of the then new Opel Ascona on which it was based...

    , and the now-classic 1968–1973 Opel GT
    Opel GT
    The Opel GT is a two-seat sports car first presented as a styling exercise in 1965 at the Paris and Frankfurt motor shows, and introduced as a production model late in 1968 by Opel, a German subsidiary of General Motors...

    . (The name "Opel" was also applied from 1976 to 1980 on vehicles manufactured by Isuzu
    Isuzu
    , is a Japanese car, commercial vehicle and heavy truck manufacturing company, headquartered in Tokyo. In 2005, Isuzu became the world's largest manufacturer of medium to heavy duty trucks. It has assembly and manufacturing plants in the Japanese city of Fujisawa, as well as in the prefectures...

     (similar to the "Isuzu I-mark"), but mechanically those were entirely different cars).
    However, there are and have been many cars sold in the U.S. that are based on Opel models or on platforms developed by Opel:

    Buick Regal (5th generation, 2009–present)


    The Buick Regal
    Buick Regal
    The Buick Regal is a mid-size car introduced by General Motors for the 1973 model year. North American production ended in 2004 and began again in 2011. For the 2011 model year, Buick re-introduced the Regal to the North American market, positioned as an upscale sport sedan...

     is more or less a rebadged Insignia
    Opel Insignia
    The Opel Insignia is a large family car engineered and produced by the German automaker Opel. Production of the Insignia began in 2008 as a replacement for the Opel Vectra. Opel launched the vehicle at the 2008 British International Motor Show in London as the Vauxhall Insignia, reflecting the...

    . The main differences are the modified radiator grill and the altered color of the passenger compartment illumination (blue instead of red). The Regal
    Buick Regal
    The Buick Regal is a mid-size car introduced by General Motors for the 1973 model year. North American production ended in 2004 and began again in 2011. For the 2011 model year, Buick re-introduced the Regal to the North American market, positioned as an upscale sport sedan...

     GS equals to the Opel Insignia
    Opel Insignia
    The Opel Insignia is a large family car engineered and produced by the German automaker Opel. Production of the Insignia began in 2008 as a replacement for the Opel Vectra. Opel launched the vehicle at the 2008 British International Motor Show in London as the Vauxhall Insignia, reflecting the...

     OPC.
    Currently, the Regal
    Buick Regal
    The Buick Regal is a mid-size car introduced by General Motors for the 1973 model year. North American production ended in 2004 and began again in 2011. For the 2011 model year, Buick re-introduced the Regal to the North American market, positioned as an upscale sport sedan...

     is assembled alongside the Opel Insignia
    Opel Insignia
    The Opel Insignia is a large family car engineered and produced by the German automaker Opel. Production of the Insignia began in 2008 as a replacement for the Opel Vectra. Opel launched the vehicle at the 2008 British International Motor Show in London as the Vauxhall Insignia, reflecting the...

     at the Opel plant in Rüsselsheim, Germany, with the plan to also build it at the GM plant in Oshawa, Canada from the first quarter of 2011.

    Saturn Astra (2008-2009)


    The Astra H was sold in the U.S. as the Saturn Astra for model years 2008 to 2009.

    Saturn Aura (2008-2009)


    The Saturn Aura
    Saturn Aura
    The Saturn Aura is a mid-size car produced under the Saturn brand of American automaker General Motors. It debuted as a concept car at the North American International Auto Show in January 2005. The production model of the Aura was shown at the 2006 New York Auto Show in April, with production...

     was, especially in the interior, a quite heavily modified version of the Opel Vectra C.

    Cadillac Catera (1997-2001)


    The Opel Omega B was sold in the U.S. as the Cadillac Catera
    Cadillac Catera
    The Cadillac Catera is a mid-sized automobile manufactured in Rüsselsheim, Germany, as a rebadged variant of the Opel Omega—and marketed by Cadillac in North America as an entry-level model, with approximately 95,000 examples manufactured from 1997–2001.A Sport model was offered beginning in...

    .

    Australia


    Many Opel-models or models based on Opel architectures have been sold in Australia under the brand name of Holden. Currently, for the first time ever, it is planned that the brand Opel will be introduced to Australia in 2012.

    Holden Barina (1994-2005)


    Two of the generations of the Holden Barina were essentially rebadged Opel Corsas. However, the first, the second and the most recent fifth generation were – compared to the rebadged Opel models – cheaper, lower-end Suzuki Cultus
    Suzuki Cultus
    The Suzuki Cultus is a supermini first presented at the 25th Tokyo Motor Show, formally introduced to the Japanese domestic market in 1983 and ultimately manufactured in seven countries across three generations and marketed worldwide under more than a dozen nameplates — prominently as the Suzuki...

    's (1st and 2nd Barina-generation) and Daewoo Kalos
    Daewoo Kalos
    The Chevrolet Aveo is the first generation of the Chevrolet Aveo, a subcompact automobile manufactured since 2002 by GM Daewoo, the South Korean subsidiary of General Motors — originally marketed as the Daewoo Kalos and prominently marketed as the Aveo...

    . As a result, the initial fifth generation (2005–2008) only scored 2 out of 5 stars in the ANCAP
    Australasian New Car Assessment Program
    The Australasian New Car Assessment Program is an automobile organisation operated by the governments and motoring organisations of Australia and New Zealand to give consumers coherent results on the protection given by vehicles in front and side impact collisions...

     rating whilst the Opel-based predecessor scored 4 out of 5.
    3rd generation (1994-2001)

    This vehicle is a rebadged Opel Corsa B.
    4th generation (2001-2005)

    This vehicle is a rebadged Opel Corsa C.

    South Africa


    Opel were distributed via Delta Motors
    General Motors South Africa
    General Motors South Africa, or GMSA is a wholly owned subsidiary of American automobile manufacturer General Motors. It manufacturers and distributes automobiles under the Chevrolet, Opel and Isuzu brands...

     until 2003. They sold the Opel Kadett
    Opel Kadett
    The Opel Kadett is a small family car produced by the German automobile manufacturer Opel between 1937 and 1940, and then again from 1962 until 1991 , when it was replaced by the Opel Astra.-Original model :...

    , Opel Corsa
    Opel Corsa
    The front-wheel drive Opel Corsa was first launched in September 1982 to replace the Opel Kadett C City, and to fill the gap vacated as the Kadett grew in size and price. Built in Zaragoza, Spain, the first Corsas were three-door hatchback and two-door saloon models, with four-door and five-door...

    , Opel Ascona
    Opel Ascona
    The Opel Ascona was a mid-sized car produced by Opel. It had three generations produced from 1970 to 1988. In motorsport, the Ascona 400 rally car driven by Walter Röhrl won the World Rally Championship drivers' title in the 1982 season....

     and Opel Senator
    Opel Senator
    The Opel Senator was a large automobile, two generations of which were sold in Europe by Opel, from 1978 until 1993. A saloon, its first incarnation was also available with a fastback coupé body as the Opel Monza and Vauxhall Royale Coupe....

    . The current Opel range in South Africa comprises the Opel Corsa
    Opel Corsa
    The front-wheel drive Opel Corsa was first launched in September 1982 to replace the Opel Kadett C City, and to fill the gap vacated as the Kadett grew in size and price. Built in Zaragoza, Spain, the first Corsas were three-door hatchback and two-door saloon models, with four-door and five-door...

     and Opel Astra
    Opel Astra
    The Opel Astra is a small family car engineered and manufactured by the German automaker Opel since 1991.It is branded as Vauxhall Astra in the United Kingdom, the Buick Excelle XT in China and the Chevrolet Astra/Vectra in Latin America...

     (Opel Astra J, sold only as a five-door). No diesel
    Diesel engine
    A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

     versions are offered. The Opel Insignia
    Opel Insignia
    The Opel Insignia is a large family car engineered and produced by the German automaker Opel. Production of the Insignia began in 2008 as a replacement for the Opel Vectra. Opel launched the vehicle at the 2008 British International Motor Show in London as the Vauxhall Insignia, reflecting the...

     is currently unavailable, and the Opel Vectra
    Opel Vectra
    The Opel Vectra is a large family car that was engineered and produced by Opel. In the United Kingdom, the car was sold under the Vauxhall marque as the Vauxhall Cavalier and later as the Vauxhall Vectra, from 1995 onwards...

     was never offered there due to a lack of popularity for midsize cars in South Africa
    South Africa
    The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

    .

    Model names


    From the beginning of production until 1930, Opel models usually carried model-numbers such as 4 / 12 hp. The number before the slash was the tax horsepower
    Tax horsepower
    The tax horsepower or taxable horsepower was an early system by which taxation rates for automobiles were reckoned in some European countries, such as Britain, Belgium, Germany, France, and Italy; some US states like Illinois charged license plate purchase and renewal fees for passenger...

    , the number behind it was the actual performance in horsepower
    Horsepower
    Horsepower is the name of several units of measurement of power. The most common definitions equal between 735.5 and 750 watts.Horsepower was originally defined to compare the output of steam engines with the power of draft horses in continuous operation. The unit was widely adopted to measure the...

    . Exceptions were e.g. the first Opel car, which bore the name Patent Motor Car "System Lutzmann".

    This quite complicated system was replaced by the given engine displacement
    Engine displacement
    Engine displacement is the volume swept by all the pistons inside the cylinders of an internal combustion engine in a single movement from top dead centre to bottom dead centre . It is commonly specified in cubic centimeters , litres , or cubic inches...

     (for example, 1.2 liters) in 1931, which was kept only until 1937. An exception was the Opel P4, whose name indicates it as a four-seater car. The name of the 1935 produced Opel Olympia
    Opel Olympia
    The Opel Olympia is a small family car produced by the German automaker Opel from 1935 to 1940, from 1947 to 1953 and again from 1967 to 1970.The 1935 Olympia was Germany's first mass-produced car with an all-steel unitized body . This revolutionary technology reduced the weight of the car by 180...

     was chosen in view of the Olympic Summer Games in 1936 and taken over by the following models.

    From the late 1930s to the 1980s, terms from the German Navy
    German Navy
    The German Navy is the navy of Germany and is part of the unified Bundeswehr .The German Navy traces its roots back to the Imperial Fleet of the revolutionary era of 1848 – 52 and more directly to the Prussian Navy, which later evolved into the Northern German Federal Navy...

     (Kapitän, Admiral, Kadett) and from other official sectors (Diplomat, Senator) were often used as model names. And from the late 1980s, the model names of passenger cars are ending with an "A". The last series to be renamed was the Opel Kadett, which was renamed to the Opel Astra
    Opel Astra
    The Opel Astra is a small family car engineered and manufactured by the German automaker Opel since 1991.It is branded as Vauxhall Astra in the United Kingdom, the Buick Excelle XT in China and the Chevrolet Astra/Vectra in Latin America...

    . The only exception to this naming was the under license built Opel Monterey. Similarly to the passenger cars, the model names of commercial vehicles are ending with an "O" (Combo, Vivaro, Movano).

    Passenger cars

    Agila
    Opel Agila
    The Opel Agila is a city car marketed since 2000 by German automaker Opel as a rebadged variant of the Suzuki Wagon R and Suzuki Splash manufactured by Magyar Suzuki. The same vehicle is rebadged as a Vauxhall in the United Kingdom....

    Ampera Antara
    Opel Antara
    The Opel Antara is a compact crossover SUV, which was a co-development between Opel, the German subsidiary of General Motors , and GM Daewoo, the South Korean equivalent. The Antara, based on the GM Theta platform, shares its underpinnings and powertrains with the Chevrolet Captiva. However, it has...

    Astra
    Opel Astra
    The Opel Astra is a small family car engineered and manufactured by the German automaker Opel since 1991.It is branded as Vauxhall Astra in the United Kingdom, the Buick Excelle XT in China and the Chevrolet Astra/Vectra in Latin America...

    Astra GTC
    Opel Astra
    The Opel Astra is a small family car engineered and manufactured by the German automaker Opel since 1991.It is branded as Vauxhall Astra in the United Kingdom, the Buick Excelle XT in China and the Chevrolet Astra/Vectra in Latin America...

    Corsa
    Opel Corsa
    The front-wheel drive Opel Corsa was first launched in September 1982 to replace the Opel Kadett C City, and to fill the gap vacated as the Kadett grew in size and price. Built in Zaragoza, Spain, the first Corsas were three-door hatchback and two-door saloon models, with four-door and five-door...

    Insignia
    Opel Insignia
    The Opel Insignia is a large family car engineered and produced by the German automaker Opel. Production of the Insignia began in 2008 as a replacement for the Opel Vectra. Opel launched the vehicle at the 2008 British International Motor Show in London as the Vauxhall Insignia, reflecting the...

    Meriva
    Opel Meriva
    The Opel Meriva is a compact MPV engineered and produced by the German automaker Opel. The car is sold under the Opel brand on all of the European markets with the exception of the United Kingdom, where it is called the Vauxhall Meriva, and Latin America, where it carried the Chevrolet badge. It...

    Zafira Tourer
    Opel Zafira
    The Opel Zafira is a compact MPV engineered and produced by the German automaker Opel. The Zafira is sold under the Vauxhall marque in the United Kingdom.- Zafira A :...

    City car Compact car Compact crossover SUV Compact car Sport compact car Supermini Large family car Mini MPV Compact MPV
    • 5-door hatchback
  • 5-door hatchback
  • 5-door SUV
  • 5-door hatchback
  • 5-door station wagon
  • 3-door hatchback
  • 3-door hatchback
  • 5-door hatchback
  • 4-door sedan
  • 5-door notchback
  • 5-door station wagon
  • 5-door Mini MPV
  • 5-door Compact MPV

  • Commercial vehicles

    Combo
    Opel Combo
    The second generation was launched in 2001. While most competitors severed their connections with their subcompact brethren, Opel decided to base the vehicle on the Corsa again. The use of subcompact Gamma platform constrained the overall width of the vehicle. While the general body shape was...

    Vivaro
    Opel Vivaro
    The Opel Vivaro is a medium-sized light commercial vehicle produced by the German automaker Opel, and sold under the Opel brand in most of Europe, but under the Vauxhall brand in the United Kingdom. It was originally launched in 2001, and is available in panel van, minibus, combined bus/van and...

    Movano
    Opel Movano
    The Opel Movano is a mid-sized commercial vehicle made since 1998 and badged as an Opel, and as the Vauxhall Movano in the United Kingdom. It underwent a facelift in late 2003 and a major revision in 2010....

    Panel van Mid-sized commercial vehicle Mid-sized commercial vehicle
    • 5-door panel van
    • 5-door leisure activity vehicle
  • Van
  • Minibus
  • Chassis Cab

  • OPC models

    Astra OPC
    Opel Astra
    The Opel Astra is a small family car engineered and manufactured by the German automaker Opel since 1991.It is branded as Vauxhall Astra in the United Kingdom, the Buick Excelle XT in China and the Chevrolet Astra/Vectra in Latin America...

    Corsa OPC
    Opel Corsa
    The front-wheel drive Opel Corsa was first launched in September 1982 to replace the Opel Kadett C City, and to fill the gap vacated as the Kadett grew in size and price. Built in Zaragoza, Spain, the first Corsas were three-door hatchback and two-door saloon models, with four-door and five-door...

    Insignia OPC
    Opel Insignia
    The Opel Insignia is a large family car engineered and produced by the German automaker Opel. Production of the Insignia began in 2008 as a replacement for the Opel Vectra. Opel launched the vehicle at the 2008 British International Motor Show in London as the Vauxhall Insignia, reflecting the...

    Sport compact car Supermini Large family car
    • 3-door hatchback
  • 3-door hatchback
  • 4-door sedan
  • 5-door notchback
  • 5-door station wagon

  • Timeline


    • 1862 - Adam Opel
      Adam Opel
      Adam Opel was the founder of the German automobile company Adam Opel AG.- Biography :Adam Opel was born on May 9, 1837, to Wilhelm, a locksmith, and his wife in Rüsselsheim. Adam studied with his father until the age of 20, when he received his travel pass...

       founded Opel.
    • 1899 - First Opel automobile
      Automobile
      An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

       patent: reverse gear in patented motor car, Lutzmann system.
    • 1909 - Opel makes the automobile affordable with the "Doctor's Car", which is sold at half the price (3,950 marks) of competitors' luxury models.
    • 1910 - Introduction of the modular construction system at Opel. Now, prefabricated car bodies can be combined with different engines and chassis.
    • 1924 - Opel is the first German manufacturer to adopt assembly-line manufacturing methods that enable volume production.
    • 1928 - Opel builds RAK 1 and RAK 2. RAK 2 has 24 solid fuel rockets that catapult the vehicle to 238 km/h (147.9 mph), setting a new world record.
    • 1929 - Adam Opel AG in Rüsselsheim, Germany, is acquired.
    • 1931 - Opel is the first manufacturer to set up a customer service school.
    • 1935 - Opel Olympia
      Opel Olympia
      The Opel Olympia is a small family car produced by the German automaker Opel from 1935 to 1940, from 1947 to 1953 and again from 1967 to 1970.The 1935 Olympia was Germany's first mass-produced car with an all-steel unitized body . This revolutionary technology reduced the weight of the car by 180...

       is the first German large-volume vehicle with self-bearing whole-steel body.
    • 1940 - Opel production is suspended through the war years.
    • 1950 - The Opel plant in Rüsselsheim is completely rebuilt.
    • 1962 - Inauguration of the second Opel plant in Bochum
      Bochum
      Bochum is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, western Germany. It is located in the Ruhr area and is surrounded by the cities of Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Herne, Castrop-Rauxel, Dortmund, Witten and Hattingen.-History:...

      , Germany.
    • 1965 - The Opel Experimental GT is the first concept car of a European automobile manufacturer and the first concept car to go into production (in 1968).
    • 1967 - Inauguration of the Opel Belgium plant in Antwerp.
    • 1976 - Opel patent: cavity in piston head reduces noise in diesel engines.
    • 1982 - New assembly plant opens in Zaragoza, Spain, to produce the Opel Corsa.
    • 1984 - The Kadett GSi is the most streamlined car in its class, at 0.30 cd.
    • '1988' - Opel withdraws from the United Kingdom
      United Kingdom
      The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

       following the demise of its last model sold there - the Manta.
    • 1989 - Opel is the first European manufacturer to offer catalytic converters on all gasoline models.
    • 1992 - New Opel plant opens in Eisenach
      Eisenach
      Eisenach is a city in Thuringia, Germany. It is situated between the northern foothills of the Thuringian Forest and the Hainich National Park. Its population in 2006 was 43,626.-History:...

      , Germany.
    • 1993 - Opel patent: a "metal protection sheet" integrated into the backrest of the seats forms a rigid barrier.
    • 1994 - Opel patent: special process for separation of oil-in-water emulsions.
    • 1995 - Corsa Eco3 is the first ready-to-drive 3-liter per 100 km car in the world.
    • 1996 - New engine plant in Kaiserslautern, Germany, begins production. Opel and Renault sign cooperation agreement in light commercial vehicle sector.
    • 1998 - Inauguration of new Opel headquarters in Rüsselsheim. Inauguration of new Opel plant in Gliwice, Poland.
    • 1999 - Opel celebrates 100 years of car production on January 21. Flex7 seating system in the Opel Zafira
      Opel Zafira
      The Opel Zafira is a compact MPV engineered and produced by the German automaker Opel. The Zafira is sold under the Vauxhall marque in the United Kingdom.- Zafira A :...

      .
    • 2002 - Production of new Vectra starts at Opel's state-of-the-art facility in Rüsselsheim, Germany.
    • 2007 - Opel introduces low-emission ecoFlex variants of its volume model lines. Opel engineers developing mechatronic chassis, that makes driving safer and more comfortable.
    • 2008 - Opel Eye is introduced in Opel Insignia.
    • 2009 - Opel Ampera is unveiled at Geneva Motor Show.

    See also


    • Adam Opel
      Adam Opel
      Adam Opel was the founder of the German automobile company Adam Opel AG.- Biography :Adam Opel was born on May 9, 1837, to Wilhelm, a locksmith, and his wife in Rüsselsheim. Adam studied with his father until the age of 20, when he received his travel pass...

    • Fritz von Opel
      Fritz von Opel
      Fritz Adam Hermann Opel, since 1918 von Opel , was the only child of Wilhelm von Opel, and a grandson of Adam Opel, founder of the Opel Company...

    • Rikky von Opel
      Rikky von Opel
      Frederick "Rikky" von Opel is a former racing driver from Liechtenstein, the only driver from that nation to have competed in the Formula One World Championship. He won the Lombard North British Formula Three Championship in 1972. He participated in 14 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix...

    • Wilhelm von Opel
      Wilhelm von Opel
      Wilhelm von Opel was one of the founding figures of the German automobile manufacturer Opel. He introduced the assembly line to the German automobily industry....

  • Opel Performance Center
    Opel Performance Center
    Opel Performance Center GmbH, commonly known as OPC, is an independent subsidiary of the german automaker Opel, which is responsible for the planning, development and coordination of all motorsport activities in charge of Opel in Europe....

  • Steinmetz Opel Tuning
    Steinmetz Opel Tuning
    Steinmetz is an automobile tuning company specialising in Opel cars, based in Aachen, Germany. They develop higher performance engines, sports suspension, special exhausts and complete aerodynamic bodystyling kits. Their engineers believe that the proving ground for all products is still in...

  • Irmscher
    Irmscher
    Irmscher Automobilbau GmbH & Co. KG is a German automobile tuning and manufacturing company specialising in Opel and recently Peugeot cars....

  • Manuel Reuter
    Manuel Reuter
    Manuel Reuter is a German former race car driver.He has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice:*in 1989 24 Hours of Le Mans for Sauber-Mercedes*in 1996 24 Hours of Le Mans for Joest Racing...


  • External links




    Video clips