Adam Opel founded his company on January 21, 1862 in Rüsselsheim. It was the first step in a long journey of innovation. Take a closer look at the history of Opel cars.
After years of employment as a journeyman metalworker, Adam Opel goes into business in his hometown of Rüsselsheim: he builds his first sewing machine, laying the foundation for the Opel company.
The company expands: Adam Opel hires his first employee, taking on his first apprentice two years later. With an ad in the regional newspaper Groß-Gerauer Kreisblatt, Opel begins promoting his product.
The sewing-machine business flourishes. Adam Opel moves into his first factory building, an industrial hall with attached living quarters. A year later, he introduces steam power into the manufacturing facilities.
In 1868, Adam Opel marries Sophie Scheller, the daughter of a factory owner. Five sons are born in the years that follow: Carl on August 31, 1869; Wilhelm on May 15, 1871; Heinrich on September 22, 1873; Friedrich on April 30, 1875; and Ludwig on January 1, 1880.
Adam Opel establishes a factory health insurance plan.
By entering the booming business of bicycle manufacture, Opel secures a second foothold for his company. The Opel sons are enthusiastic cyclists, winning several hundred races on Opel bicycles in the years up to 1898. In less than forty years, Opel becomes the world’s largest bicycle producer.
Adam Opel dies at the age of 58. His wife Sophie assumes responsibility for running the business, with the support of her sons.
“Opel Patent Motor Car, System Lutzmann” is the name given to the first Opel automobile. It marks the beginning of production in Rüsselsheim, and forms the basis for building the first utility vehicles. Within the year, the company makes its international motor sport début.
Heinrich von Opel wins the Königsstuhl hill climb near Heidelberg in an Opel Lutzmann.
A contract is finalized with the French manufacturer Alexandre Darracq, authorizing Opel to produce Darracq automobiles under license.
Opel builds its first motorcycle.
The first Darracq chassis are outfitted with Opel bodies in Rüsselsheim. The vehicles are marketed under the brand name Opel Darracq.
The first model built entirely by Opel, with a newly developed 10/12 hp, two-cylinder engine, is completed in fall of the same year.
Opel develops its first four-cylinder engine, with 20/24 hp output.
An Opel Darracq showroom and service center opens its doors near the Tiergarten park in Berlin.
The one-thousandth Opel automobile leaves the factory. Opel establishes a branch factory in Berlin.
In a specially built 45 kW (60 hp) car, Opel test driver and company race-car driver Carl Jörns wins the Kaiser’s Prize Race in the Taunus region: Opel is awarded the Kaiser’s Prize for the best German automobile and is designated purveyor to the court.
Opel introduces an affordable compact car. The 4 kW (8 hp) two-seater, designed for customers who place great importance on dependability, becomes known as the “Doktorwagen” (Doctor’s Car).
A modular production system is implemented: prefabricated car bodies are combined with various chassis and engines.
Opel’s market share in Germany grows to 12.3 percent.
With a 6/16 hp model, Opel adopts the new “torpedo” body form. In addition, Opel responds to technological developments, filling new market gaps: the carmaker develops its first aircraft engine, which drives the Euler biplane. At the same time, the company builds a heavy-duty motorized plow for large farms.
A major fire destroys a large part of the plant.
Sewing-machine production ends with the manufacture of the one-millionth unit.
The “Adam Opel Foundation” is established to fund an old-age pension plan for the company’s workforce.
Opel celebrates its fiftieth anniversary.
The ten-thousandth Opel motorcar rolls out of the plant.
Based on experience gathered from the major fire of 1911, the engineers in Rüsselsheim develop the “Motorized Fire Pump” for the plant fire brigade. The early fire engine is successfully marketed to towns and cities.
A new flagship model is introduced: a substantial 40/100 hp four-cylinder vehicle.
Race cars employing ground-breaking engine technology are developed for the Grand Prix season: the four-cylinder power units with 4-liter and 4.5-liter displacements feature four valves per cylinder and an overhead camshaft driven by a vertical shaft.
A record-breaking race car is developed, based on the engine technology that led to the 1913 Gran Prix triumph. The cutting-edge vehicle is not only one of the first cars to feature four-valve technology – at a swept volume of 12.3 liters, its four-cylinder, 16-valve power unit is the largest displacement engine to emerge from the Rüsselsheim facilities. Opel becomes Germany’s largest automobile manufacturer.
A 5/14 hp model goes into production. The hugely successful car is dubbed “Puppchen” (little doll).
During WW I (1914–1918), Opel produces heavy trucks for the military.
In a 18/50 hp model, Opel introduces its first six-cylinder engine, with a displacement of 4.7 liters.
The Opel Racetrack, located south of Rüsselsheim, is inaugurated. The oval course with banked curves, paved in concrete, is the first permanent track for racing and testing in Germany – years ahead of other well-known racetracks, such as the Berlin AVUS and the Nürburgring.
The first works council is established at Opel.
Opel builds an eight-cylinder engine, which proves itself in a number of races – notably in the Eifel race of 1922.
Fritz von Opel wins the first car race on the AVUS track in Berlin, in the “eight taxable horsepower” class of the period.
Investing one million gold marks, Opel completely modernizes its automobile production. The Rüsselsheim plant is the first German manufacturer to introduce the high-volume production methods of the future, including assembly-line processes.
The first car to roll out of the updated plant: the legendary 4/12 hp model, best known as the “Laubfrosch” (Tree Frog), in reference to its green body paint and protruding headlamps.
Opel dealerships introduce a revolutionary new service: standardized maintenance at fixed prices.
Thanks to state-of-the-art production methods and strong demand, the price for the “Tree Frog” sinks from its original 4,500 marks to 2,980 marks, eventually dropping as low as 1,990 marks. This makes automobiles affordable for even broader sections of the public.
The Rüsselsheim racing team scores a total of 75 victories in various motor sport classes.
With a market share of 37.5 percent, Opel is by far the largest German carmaker. In preparation for an alliance with General Motors, the company is converted into a listed stock corporation.
A new flagship model is christened: the Regent Limousine, powered by a 24/110 hp, eight-cylinder engine.
Motorcycle technology reaches a high point, with the introduction of the Motoclub. The avant-garde motorcycle features a pressed-steel frame, a modern teardrop-shaped fuel tank and an air-cushioned saddle.
The RAK rocket-propelled vehicle program begins: RAK 1 accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in just eight seconds on the Opel Racetrack. One month later, Fritz von Opel reaches a top speed of 238 km/h in the RAK 2 on the AVUS track in Berlin, to become a popular hero. On a closed stretch of railway tracks near Burgwedel, the rocket sled RAK 3 reaches 254 km/h, setting a new world record for speed on rails.
General Motors acquires 80 percent of shares in the company Adam Opel AG for just under 26 million dollars, becoming majority stockholder. Opel is the first German manufacturer to establish an insurance company. Another first: the “Opel Bank” finances car purchases and arranges payment in installments.
During the same year, Fritz von Opel makes the world’s first manned rocket flight, in his RAK 1 Friedrich rocket aircraft at the former Frankfurt Airport, the Rebstock grounds.
Market launch of the Opel Blitz truck series.
The Rüsselsheim plant builds the first “people’s automobile”, an affordable vehicle equipped with a 1.2-liter engine. Between 1931 and 1935, 100,000 units are built – a volume never before reached with a single model in Germany.
General Motors acquires the remaining 20 percent of shares in the Opel corporation.Opel becomes the first carmaker to establish a school for customer service training.
Opel unveils the Olympia, Germany’s first mass-produced car with an all-steel integral body and frame. Advantages: low weight, greater passive safety and improved aerodynamics. At the same time, a new manufacturing process developed and patented by the engineers in Rüsselsheim is introduced: the so-called “wedding” that unites the prefabricated body shell with the chassis and mechanical assemblies.
Truck production facilities officially open in Brandenburg. The new plant, which began building trucks as early as November 1934, boasts an annual capacity of 25,000 Blitz models.
Opel becomes the first German carmaker to manufacture more than 100,000 vehicles per year.
With the P4, Opel introduces a compact car at an unbeatable price.
A further model featuring the safety of an integral frame and body rolls off the assembly lines in Rüsselsheim: the first Kadett.
At the same time, the elegant and powerful Opel Super 6 is launched.
The company is Europe’s largest manufacturer and exporter of automobiles, boasting an annual production of 120,293 units.
Opel observes its seventy-fifth anniversary. The company focuses on automobile manufacture, selling its bicycle production to NSU – after building 2.6 million bicycles.
The Opel Admiral, the new flagship powered by a 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine, is unveiled.
Production of Frigidaire household refrigerators begins in Rüsselsheim.
A new generation of the Olympia appears on the market. The first Opel Kapitän is presented to the public.
For the fourth consecutive year, Opel is the largest automaker in Europe, with a workforce of 25,374.
Production of the one-millionth Opel, a Kapitän model. In October, a directive from the Nazi regime brings passenger-car production to a standstill.
In addition to truck models, including four-wheel drive and track versions, military equipment such as landing gear, cockpits, and fuel tanks for aircraft etc. are produced.
Allied bombs destroy half of the Rüsselsheim plant; the Brandenburg plant is almost completely destroyed.
The entire Kadett production facilities are dismantled and sent to the Soviet Union as reparations.
Production of Frigidaire household refrigerators recommences. The first postwar Opel, a 1.5-ton Blitz truck, is built.
Passenger car production resumes with the Olympia model.
The Rüsselsheim plant resumes production of the Kapitän, which enjoys a popular comeback.
Reconstruction of the Rüsselsheim plant is completed.
Opel becomes the first German manufacturer to establish on-site proving grounds, at the Rüsselsheim plant.Production of the third postwar generation of the Opel Olympia begins on the assembly lines in Rüsselsheim.
The Olympia Rekord, the first Opel with a full-width, or ponton, body shell and the legendary “shark’s mouth” grille design, is presented at the IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt. The first Opel station wagon is introduced to the market. Annual production once again exceeds 100,000 units.
During the same year, the Opel Kapitän reappears with a completely restyled body and new technology.
The two-millionth Opel, a Kapitän, leaves the plant.
The Opel Olympia Rekord P1 is presented at the IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt. Around 850,000 units are sold within three years.
A further generation of the Kapitän is introduced. In reference to the distinctive form of its taillights, the P1 model becomes known as the “Keyhole” Kapitän.
Production of Frigidaire household refrigerators is ended. Opel introduces a Kapitän with a 2.6-liter engine, soon to become the most successful luxury-class model ever built in Rüsselsheim.
The Opel Rekord P2 arrives. About 755,000 units are to be built in total.
A sporty coupe is launched, rounding off the model line.
Opel celebrates its one-hundredth anniversary.
A plant is inaugurated in Bochum for the production of the new Opel Kadett.
All Opel Rekord A and Kadett A models built in 1963–64 sport this variant of the Blitz “bow and stern.”
Opel unveils three new luxury models: Kapitän, Admiral and Diplomat. These prestigious six- and eight-cylinder flagships capture the spirit of the times. All three are well received and become immediate market successes.
A new Kadett takes the place of its predecessor. By 1973, the B series Kadett becomes Opel’s most successful model yet, selling 2.6 million units.
The Rekord B is launched with a new engine generation.
The fastest German production model coupe to date appears: the Diplomat V8.
The Bochum plant celebrates a milestone: the one-millionth Kadett leaves the assembly lines. Opel opens new automotive proving grounds at Dudenhofen in the German state of Hesse, as well as a plant for manufacturing components in Kaiserslautern.
The Rekord C goes into production, and the legendary Rallye Kadett is introduced to the market.
Opel launches the sporty Commodore A and a further Kadett model variant, the Kadett B LS.
The Opel GT arrives on the scene. Its advertising slogan “Only flying is better” is adopted as a popular figure of speech.
Opel introduces second-generation models of the Kapitän, Admiral and Diplomat.
The mid-class model Ascona A and the sporty Manta A are born.
The Commodore GS/E with electronic fuel injection goes into production.
The ten-millionth Opel rolls off the assembly line in the Rüsselsheim plant. The Rekord D goes into production, also in Rüsselsheim.
With a market share of 20.4 percent, Opel is the largest German automobile manufacturer.
The Commodore B is introduced.
A modified Opel GT with the new Opel diesel engine sets two world records and 28 international records at the Dudenhofen proving grounds.
The Kadett C is launched. All told, roughly 1.7 million units of the model are to be built.
Seatbelts become standard equipment in all Opel models.
Walter Röhrl and his navigator Jochen Berger become European Rally champions in an Ascona A.
The Ascona B and Manta B go into production.
The Rekord E succeeds the Rekord D.
Two new stars enter the big leagues of the automobile market: the luxurious four-door Senator and the sporty fastback coupe Monza.
The top-of-the-line power unit for both models is a newly developed three-liter six-cylinder engine with an output of 180 hp.
Production of the first front-wheel-drive Opel, the Kadett D, begins in Bochum.
The engineering study Tech 1 demonstrates Opel’s pioneering role in the field of aerodynamics: the experimental vehicle achieves a drag coefficient of 0.235, setting a world record.
Opel becomes the first carmaker to use environmentally friendly water-based paints.
The Ascona C and the performance-oriented Manta B 400 enter the market.
A new plant is commissioned in Saragossa, Spain, for the production of the Opel Corsa. The compact model rapidly advances to become the bestselling vehicle in its class.
Walter Röhrl and his navigator Christian Geistdörfer prevail over tough four-wheel-drive competitors, piloting their Ascona 400 to victory in the Monte Carlo Rally and winning the Rally World Championship.
Opel’s 20-millionth vehicle, a Senator, leaves the Rüsselsheim production facilities.
The Kadett E is introduced. The GSi version, with a drag coefficient of 0.30, is the most aerodynamic vehicle in its class worldwide. The Kadett is elected Car of the Year by an international jury.
Opel becomes the first German manufacturer to include a vehicle with a catalytic converter in every model line.
The Opel Omega makes its début, boasting the best drag coefficient in its class, at 0.28.
The Omega is elected Car of the Year.
Opel celebrates its 125-year jubilee.
The Senator B is presented to the public.
The Opel Vectra is introduced. The mid-size model, available in a choice of two body variants, is an immediate bestseller. The Vectra is characterized by dynamic design and driving comfort combined with technologically advanced drivetrain and chassis solutions. An all-wheel-drive version is available.
Opel introduces catalytic converters as standard equipment in all models, the first among European car manufacturers.
The Opel Calibra is launched, with a world-best drag coefficient of 0.26.
The 25-millionth Opel rolls off the production line in Rüsselsheim.
The Adam Opel Prize for outstanding academic performance in engineering is awarded for the first time, in Rüsselsheim, Bochum and Kaiserslautern.
Opel becomes the first automaker to implement a recycling chain for plastics. The move reflects the company’s commitment to environmentally friendly technology: the Rüsselsheim engineers systematically eliminate hazardous materials such as asbestos and cadmium from the manufacturing process. At the same time, sustainable reductions of paint solvents and chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) are achieved.
After years of outstanding performance on the road and in the market, Kadett production comes to an end. Its successor: the Astra. The new vehicle is equipped with the Opel Safety System, including side-impact protection, anti-submarining ramps in the seats, and seatbelt tensioners.
The company launches its first off-road vehicle, the Frontera, which becomes European market leader in its class within a year.
In Eisenach, the world’s most advanced automobile manufacturing plant begins production based on the innovative principle of lean production.
The off-road vehicle Opel Monterey and the light utility vehicle Campo Sports Cap are launched.
The second-generation Corsa arrives. With its winning design, the new Corsa rapidly advances to the top of its class in Europe. For years it consistently defends its leading position.
In Eisenach, the world’s most advanced automobile manufacturing plant begins production based on the innovative principle of lean production.
The off-road vehicle Opel Monterey and the light utility vehicle Campo Sports Cap are launched.
Opel introduces the Vectra B.
Another first among German carmakers: Opel equips all of its passenger cars with full-size airbags for the driver and front-seat passenger.
In the new Vectra, Opel becomes the first major auto manufacturer worldwide to introduce the Pedal Release System and the hybrid airbag.
Opel becomes the world’s first manufacturer to combine the advantages of four-valve technology with direct-injection and turbocharging in a diesel passenger car.
Production of the Cadillac Catera, based on the Omega, begins in Rüsselsheim.
Manuel Reuter wins the International Touring Car Championship (ITC) in an Opel Calibra.
Opel launches its “Mobility Initiative” with a navigation system for the Vectra and Omega models.
For the first time, a European passenger car is equipped with a three-cylinder engine. The one-liter unit, operating with four valves per cylinder, is offered in the Corsa. With the Arena, Opel re-enters the commercial vehicle market segment.
New corporate headquarters are established in Rüsselsheim: the Adam Opel Building is inaugurated by German Chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl.
Expansion continues in the commercial vehicle sector with the Movano.
New Astra models go into production.
The off-road vehicles Monterey and Frontera appear as redesigned models.
The one-millionth Vectra leaves the Rüsselsheim plant.
Opel commissions a new plant in Gliwice, Poland.
Opel marks a century of automotive excellence. The Opel Millennium Express, an award-winning multimedia exhibition occupying an entire railway train, rolls through Europe.
The visitor center Opel Live opens its doors to the public.
The 50-millionth Opel, an Omega, rolls off the assembly line in Rüsselsheim. With the Zafira, Opel launches a new class of compact vans, featuring the widely versatile interior concept Flex-7.
Production of the Opel Agila begins. Germany’s first microvan is the perfect city vehicle.
The key to its success: maximum utilization of space yet manageable overall dimensions, combined with a fuel-efficient engine.
In Geneva, Opel presents a Zafira concept vehicle powered by fuel cells.
A 2.2-liter light-metal engine, generating 147 hp/108 kW of output, becomes available. The Astra Coupe makes its début.
A Zafira variant powered by natural gas is introduced.
A worldwide bestseller enters its third generation: the updated Opel Corsa continues its success story.
The purebred driving machine Opel Speedster arrives on the scene.
A second-generation Astra Cabrio is introduced.
Opel unveils the Vivaro.
With the Zafira OPC, Opel presents the fastest production-model van in Europe, while at the same time introducing the Opel Zafira CNG.
The Astra Coupe OPC X-Treme vehicle study is exhibited in Geneva.
The fuel cell-powered Zafira HydroGen 1 sets 15 international records.
Opel starts the new image campaign “Opel. Fresh Thinking for Better Cars.” German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder inaugurates the world’s most advanced automobile manufacturing facilities, in Rüsselsheim.
The new Opel Vectra arrives on the market.
Opel in Berlin, the company’s prestigious headquarters in the capital, opens its doors.
Opel presents its first sustainability report.
The Opel Speedster Turbo and the natural gas-powered Opel Astra station wagon 1.6 CNG are introduced to the German market.
The Opel Signum and Meriva are unveiled simultaneously in Germany.
Opel opens a new test and event center in Pferdsfeld.
The carmaker in Rüsselsheim launches an engine initiative, with four new CDTI common-rail diesel units and the fuel-saving technology TWINPORT for its gasoline engines.
The first Opel Ironman Germany triathlon is held in Frankfurt. The Opel triathlon team performs well, taking a number of leading positions.
The fuel cell-powered Zafira HydroGen3 begins tests under everyday driving conditions on public roads in Tokyo and in Washington.
The Opel ECO Speedster sets 17 international records on the Opel proving grounds in Dudenhofen.
Highlights of the Frankfurt International Motor Show IAA include world premieres of the third-generation Opel Astra, the new Opel Vectra station wagon, the Insignia sedan design study and a maintenance-free diesel particulate filter system.
The Opel Astra enters its third generation. The Tigra TwinTop and Astra station wagon are introduced to the market. The Astra GTC is presented at the Paris Motor Show.
Opel has produced roughly 60 million vehicles to date.
Opel Zafira 1.6 CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) is the top-selling car with alternative propulsion in Germany.
World premieres of Astra and Zafira OPC models at Geneva Motor Show.
Series production of new Zafira begins at Bochum plant and sales start of compact van, which was awarded five stars in Euro NCAP safety tests.
A fuel-cell powered Zafira HydroGen3 is used as a customer service vehicle as part of the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP) project, which is supported by the German Federal Government.
Journalists from 26 countries name the 1.3 CDTI ECOTEC powerplant "Engine of the Year 2005" in the segment of 1.0 to 1.4 liters displacement.
Market launch of extensively enhanced Vectra and Signum models.
All of Opel's diesel-powered passenger cars are available with a particulate filter as of the summer.
World premieres of sporty-elegant Astra TwinTop cabrio-coupé, Antara SUV concept, Vectra OPC and new Zafira CNG at the IAA in Frankfurt.
Meriva is presented at the Bologna Motor Show with an enhanced design and new refined technology. OPC version debuts at Essen Motor Show.
Zafira wins “Golden Steering Wheel” for best compact van.
Start of production of Astra GTC with panorama windshield. Extending up into the middle of the roof, it is the first panorama glazing of its type to be fitted in a series production car.
New Opel GT makes its premiere at the Geneva Motor Show. The sporty car, now as a roadster, continues the history of the legendary GT from the 1960s.
GM Europe opens a new European Design Center in Rüsselsheim.
New versions of the Vivaro and Movano go into production.
World premiere of fourth-generation Corsa at the British International Motor Show in London; series production begins in Eisenach and Zaragoza.
New Corsa receives five stars in Euro NCAP crash test for passenger protection; Corsa becomes first series-production car to feature Opel’s integrated rear bicycle carrier system Flex-Fix.
The first series-production versions of the new four-wheel drive Antara crossover are available to customers.
New-edition Astra is launched with new engines, improved technology and fresh design accents.
Opel begins the OPC Race Camp: after many tough test phases, 18,500 applicants are reduced to the ten best drivers, who will take part in the Nürburgring 24-hour race in 2008.
Opel GTC Concept heralds a new, progressive brand design era at the Geneva Motor Show. World premiere of top-of-the-line Corsa OPC with 192 hp and 1.6-liter turbo engine.
150 hp Corsa GSi premieres at Barcelona Motor Show.
Manuel Reuter sets supermini circuit record of 8 minutes, 47.99 seconds around the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in a series-production Corsa OPC.
World premiere of the concept car Opel Flextreme at the IAA; car marks a milestone in the development of a new propulsion concept. With the completely new, environmentally friendly E-Flex system, commuters can travel up to 55 kilometers every day while emitting no CO2 emissions.
Corsa 1.3 CDTI ecoFLEX also makes its premiere at IAA. Equipped with a diesel particulate filter as standard, the supermini emits just 119 grams CO2 per kilometre and has an average consumption of just 4.5 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers.
Corsa is the top-selling supermini in Germany.
Opel’s new top model, the Insignia, debuts at the London International Motor Show. With its groundbreaking design and sophisticated technology, the Insignia makes a quantum leap toward rejuvenating the brand. Shortly afterwards it is named Car of the Year 2009 for its style and its innovation, safety and comfort.
The global economic crisis affects GM and Opel. However, in Germany sales are recovering thanks in part to a scrappage campaign as well as the new top-of-the-line Insignia model. After months of negotiations between GM and Magna, Opel remains in the GM Group.
The Opel Ampera, the revolutionary extended-range electric vehicle (E-REV), is presented at the Geneva Motor Show. It can cover 40-80 km on pure electric power – and thus CO2-free.
Over longer distances, the on-board internal combustion engine will start to generate electricity to drive the wheels for the remainder of the journey. This enables an operating range of over 500 km.
In Berlin, the HydroGen4, the fourth generation of GM/Opel fuel-cell vehicles, is proving its everyday suitability in a six-month field test.
The Insignia exceeds all expectations: one year after its launch, 170,000 orders have been received across Europe. As of spring spring, the “Car of the Year 2009” is available in the station wagon Sports Tourer version, and in the low CO2 emissions ecoFLEX variant. The sporty top-of-the-line Insignia is the OPC: the 2.8-liter V6 turbo gasoline engine with 239 kW (325 hp) makes it the most powerful production Opel ever. Auto Bild readers name it the “Sports Car of the Year”, just one of over 30 awards the Insignia wins.
With the 110 kW (150 hp) Zafira CNG ecoFLEX turbo, Opel brings the first turbo-powered natural-gas van onto the roads.
OPC Race Camp goes into the second round. Goal: participation in the 24-hour race 2010 on the Nürburgring.
The one millionth Meriva leaves the assembly line at the plant in Zaragoza, Spain.
The new Astra celebrates its premiere at the IAA in Frankfurt. It carries on the sporty-sculptural Opel design language introduced in the Insignia. The sedan sets new standards in the compact class with technology and comfort highlights like ergonomic seats with the AGR (Action for Healthy Backs) seal of approval, front camera with road sign recognition and lane departure warning as well as the safety lighting system AFL+. The new Astra’s high safety is underlined with a five star rating in the Euro NCAP test. Even before its market launch, it wins the “Golden Steering Wheel”. In just a few weeks, 60,000 orders for the new compact model are received.
110 years after the first Opel car was built, the brand faces existential danger from the international economic crisis. In June, GM files for bankruptcy. Opel receives help from The German government.
Presented at the Geneva Motor Sow the revolutionary Opel Ampera Extended Range Electric Vehicle wins prestigious green motoring award.
The new 5-door Astra is launched in December 2009, taking the compact class by storm with premium quality technology and design.
The Opel Corsa is introduced in January with a host of improvements including an enhanced engine range.
In an attention-getting drive to the Geneva Motor Show, the Ampera prototype of Opel’s extended-range electric vehicle proves its long-distance drive capability.
The Flextreme GT/E Concept car showcases the possibilities for E-REV propulsion in the upper class at the Motor Show.
The new Opel Meriva makes its debut: the flexibility champion shines with its unique interior concept and rear-hinged rear doors. Shortly after its launch, the back experts at AGR (Action for Healthy Backs) certify the Meriva for its overall ergonomic concept. In the autumn it is awarded the “Golden Steering Wheel”.
The second-generation Movano is introduced. The new van is offered with four wheelbases and three roof-heights, with front and all-wheel drive in a total of 300 variants.
The ecoFLEX Experience takes place from the spring through the summer. Around 70,000 participants from 20 countries across Europe register for the fuel-saving competition. The winner of the finale near Malmö will win one of the first Opel Amperas to be produced.
Opel launches an investment program in the billions. Within five years, 11 billion euros are to go towards renewing the product portfolio.
At the Plus X Award, the world’s largest contest for technologies, sport and lifestyle products, the new editions of the Astra and Meriva win a total of seven categories. Opel is named “Most Innovative Brand 2010” in the automotive sector.
The Opel Astra Sports Tourer makes its premiere at the Paris Motor Show. With a 213 kW/290 hp 2-liter turbo engine, the GTC concept car offers a glimpse of the compact coupé version of the Astra.
Opel is again a stock corporation. The listing in the Commercial Registry takes place on January 5.
At the beginning of the year the Opel Corsa gets a new look. Fresh colors and new interior trim make a statement. With Start/Stop technology the 70 kW/95 hp 1.3 CDTI Corsa ecoFLEX consumes just 3.5 liters of diesel per 100 km (=94 g/km CO2). The popular, bright Color Line range is expanded with the Corsa Color Stripes line.
The Opel Antara off-roader goes into the second round with optimized design, upgraded interior and efficient engines.
At the 64th Frankfurt International Motor Show Opel presents four world premiers: The Astra GTC Coupé with sharp design and ultimate driving precision, the versatility master Zafira Tourer, the newest Combo generation and the experimental car RAK e.
In March the Opel Ampera won the “Car of the Year 2012” award. But that wouldn’t be the only award for this revolutionary electric vehicle. Despite challenging conditions for the electric vehicle market, the Ampera was at the top of the electric passenger car league table in Europe.
Opel also enhanced its successful, award-winning compact bestseller and gave the Astra line-up a new, fresher look by introducing the new sedan and giving the five-door variant as well as the Sports Tourer station wagon a sharper exterior and interior appearance.
At the Geneva International Motor Show 2012 Opel celebrated two world premieres. Opel expanded its range with the brand new sub-compact SUV Mokka, which delivers attractive design with innovative technologies and upmarket functionalities. The other world premiere was the new Astra OPC – the most powerful Astra ever.
In July the Opel Supervisory Board named Dr. Thomas Sedran Deputy Chairman of the Management Board of Adam Opel AG.
The all-new ADAM had its world premiere in Paris. Known for its three different trim worlds that set the stage for pure individuality and uniqueness, this trendy urban car introduced unlimited potential for customization thanks to the internet-based configurator.
In its 150th year of business, the Rüsselsheim brand returned to motor racing in the form of an internationally oriented rally program with the new Opel ADAM and a circuit for the new Astra OPC.
And finally the Zafira Tourer rounds off the long list of Opel awards in the year 2012. Six models entered the “van” competition category but only the Opel Zafira Tourer emerged as the winner of its class in the “Golden Steering Wheel 2012” award.
With the new Cascada Opel challenged perceptions by offering stylish, premium quality, all-year round soft-top motoring. Full four-seater luxury and state-of-the-art technology in an irresistibly elegant form recreated the glamour of the great Opel Cabriolets of the past.
A hint of even more glamour to come was revealed at the Frankfurt International Auto Salon when Opel unveiled the Monza concept. While the name is a stark reminder of some very potent coupés from the 1970s, the beautiful, sleek shape and stunning interior definitely held promises of what awaits Opel customers in the near future.
Another major trend was also reflected in Frankfurt with introduction of the Opel Insignia Country Tourer. This marked Opels debut in the premium crossover market with a civilized and stylish, robust yet comfortable challenger with intelligent AWD and advanced infotainment with IntelliLink connectivity.
2013 also saw the arrival of a complete new family of Opel engines heralded by attention grabbing 1.6 petrol and diesel variants. Advanced materials, cutting edge design with forefront electronics and leading turbo technology all came together to build a range of diesel and petrol engines that could meet Euro 6 while reducing both fuel and running costs.
As usual the year was distinguished by a host of industry awards. One of the most significant was the “Connected Car Award” from Auto Bild and Computer Bild which acknowledged and rewarded Opel foresightedness with the IntelliLink infotainment system in the Opel ADAM.
The ADAM also featured heavily in the Autonis awards as best small car and won the same category in the Auto Trophy for the second year running. It’s ground breaking style also led to the Red Dot Design Award. In addition the Opel Meriva topped the prestigious JD Powers survey for owner satisfaction. The Opel Ampera again reconfirmed its appeal by being voted E-Car of the Year by Auto Bild readers.
The year began well with the prestigious Readers Choice for the Opel ADAM from the magazine Auto, Motor & Sport.
In February the Opel Astra OPC Extreme, the fastest Astra ever, was presented at the Geneva International Motor Show.
In April the 3 millionth car to leave the production line in Opel Eisenach was an ADAM. Also in April the Mokka defended its position as Auto Bild's "All Wheel Drive Car of the Year", going on to achieve orders of 300,000 in October.
In May the Opel Meriva successfully defended its win in the J.D. Power Survey for class leading customer satisfaction.
In September the new Opel KARL was officially announced, adding even more choice to a range of small cars that already included the ADAM and Corsa.
Also in September Opel presented the OnStar emergency services at the eCall Days Germany in Berlin, the official start of production of the Mokka was celebrated in Zaragoza, Spain, and the mini-crossover ADAM ROCKS was launched.
The new 5th generation Corsa was launched to high acclaim at the Paris Motor Show in October. Also the new spicy sports star, ADAM S was officially launched at the same show.
The new Vivaro range was introduced at the Birmingham International Commercial Vehicle Show in April. Simultaneously the new Movano also made its debut. In September the dynamic, extremely versatile, Opel Vivaro Combi was launched at the IAA commercial vehicle show in Hanover.
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