“Opel the Reliable“: From Gasoline Wagon to Astra Sports Tourer
Jun 27, 2013
Since 1907: Opel Gasoline Wagon’s sobriquet is “the reliable“
Five-decade lifespan: Advertising slogan from the 1930s to the 1980s
Endurance test success 2013: Trade journal calls Astra “Opel, the most reliable”
13th Classic Car Event: Opel Quick Delivery Wagon meets Sports Tourer at the Opel Villas
Rüsselsheim. The terms Opel and reliability are intrinsically tied to one another. In its recent 12/2013 issue, the respected trade journal auto motor und sport declared “Opel, the most reliable“, describing the best compact endurance test car of all time – an Astra Sports Tourer 2.0 CDTI that did not have one single technical fault over the entire distance of 100,000 km. Opel Vice President Quality Thomas Simon says, “Typical Opel values are precision, efficiency and reliability.” Opel has a long tradition of quality, as the first cars with combustion engines from Rüsselsheim very quickly earned a reputation for being “reliable”. At a time when Otto engines still had to compete against steam and electric propulsion drives (!), the first Opel cars were convincing with their faultless operation and safe arrival at their destination.
At the beginning of the 1930s the brand embraced its good reputation and developed “Opel the reliable” in the form of a logo. From 1936 the ad slogan was used for all model lines. Then, during the time known as the economic miracle, the slogan really came into its own. From the Quick Delivery Wagon (Schnelllieferwagen) Olympia Rekord to the Rekord Cabriolet and stately Opel Kapitän – all starred in ads and in the cinema advertising that wildly popular at the time under the motto “the reliable”. The 1950s were Opel years, when the brand rose up out of the ruins of the bombed Rüsselsheim plant to become a prestigious brand of the postwar period.
In the 1960s the advertising became more colorful, the model offer more extensive and the engines larger – the claim “Opel the reliable”, however, remained. The quality promise stood loyally to the new Kadett, even though the main message in its advertising was already “Opel Kadett - in a word, O.K.” Slowly but surely new messages crowded out the classic claim: “Opel Kadett. The car” or “Opel Rekord – the upscale mid-size class” were emblazoned on the posters. At least the logo got a tiny addition: under the blitz was now written “tested reliability”.
Yet the slogan from the 1930s again celebrated a comeback until well into the 1970s. The seal of quality “Opel the reliable” again adorned ads for the Rekord and Commodore! With a new design, it was also the ideal supplement to “ADMIRAL – the fast touring car” (to 1976). It was after that that traces of the original claim are lost. Instead, advertisers bet on the appeal of powerful V8 engines (“Badge for advanced drivers”, “For fast horse enthusiasts”) or the sportiness still ubiquitous today (“Opel Manta. Because you know what driving is about”, “Opel Manta. If conventional cars are too boring for you“).
The new plan is called QUALITY!2022
But Opel never lost sight of the term reliability, remaining true to its tradition. Which is why Thomas Simon explains the strategy for the coming years as follows: “We are already on the right track with the quality offensive we began in 2007 – as the result of the auto motor und sport endurance test impressively shows. In addition, we have drawn up the plan QUALITY!2022 as an important component of our overall strategy DRIVE!2022. Our ambitious but realistic goal is to take over quality leadership in the automotive industry. Customer satisfaction with the product, service and the entire experience at all points of contact with the brand is the be-all and end-all.”
The past, the present and the future all come together at Opel under one common denominator – “Opel the reliable”. The German automaker also demonstrates this at the 13th Classic Car Event at the Opel Villas in Rüsselsheim this coming Sunday, June 30. In the illustrious circle of beautiful Opel classic cars there will also be two special vehicles parked next to each other – the legendary Opel Schnelllieferwagen from 1953 and the faultless Opel Astra Sports Tourer from the auto motor und sport endurance test. When the 25,000 visitors expected at the event stroll around the two exhibition cars, they’ll see on the 1953 Olympia Rekord, large and clear: “Opel the reliable”.