May 5, 2015
Rüsselsheim. General Motors today celebrated an impressive production milestone: since the company’s founding in 1908, more than 500 million vehicles have been delivered to customers around the world – no other automaker can look back at such production numbers. Opel, one of the group’s tradition-rich brands, played a large role in this: the German carmaker built 68 million cars, most of them at the main plant in Rüsselsheim, where this achievement was now celebrated.
Loyal customers were invited to dinner with the Board in the historic ambience of the Opel Classic Car garage. And Anna Katharina Dionysius from Riedstadt got a special surprise during a visit to the vehicle production hall: the long-term Opel customer picked up the Opel Zafira Tourer she had recently ordered directly from the assembly line – as an anniversary gift handed over by Opel CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann.
Anna Katharina Dionysius had an accident with her Astra a few days prior to the event. The car was badly damaged but she only suffered minor injuries. She took to Facebook to praise her “red hero” and thanked the Opel engineers for their “great work”. The Zafira Tourer with the whisper-quiet two-liter diesel engine that pumps out 125 kW/170 hp and meets the stringent Euro 6 emissions standard is new on the market.
Dr. Neumann: “For me this anniversary is more than just an impressive number, because 500 million cars stand for 500 million customers, for their stories and experiences. We say ‘thank you’ 500 million times to these customers for their loyalty and trust, because it is a privilege for us to play such an important role in their lives.”
GM celebrated the 500 million milestone around the globe. Practically simultaneously to the celebrations in Rüsselsheim, loyal customers were also invited to the group’s production facilities in North and South America, Asia, Africa and China. Anna Katharina Dionysius is one of five customers to receive a car free of charge to mark this production milestone. “During 2015, we expect to sell more than 1,000 new vehicles per hour, 24 hours per day,” said Barra. “This adds up to nearly 10 million vehicles, the most in our history. I look at this extraordinary volume as 10 million opportunities to prove what kind of company we are and to say thank you.” said GM CEO Mary Barra.
Mary Barra continued to point out the many game-changing innovations GM has brought to the automotive industry including the first ever V-8 engine, the first automatic transmission, the first automotive crash test dummies and the first airbags in a production vehicle.
Opel started building cars in 1899 and has been part of GM since 1929 – and many milestones pave the way of this shared journey, as do legendary cars like the Kadett, Rekord, GT, Manta and Kapitän. Through it all, Opel has always stood for technological innovations that offer customers high utility value and benefits – for example in 1989 when the Rüsselsheim automaker was the first brand to equip its cars with a catalytic converter as standard. The guiding principle “We make technology that is otherwise only available in the luxury class affordable for everyone” remains a cornerstone of the brand’s philosophy to this day. True to this tradition, another highlight is coming up: Opel OnStar. The personal service and mobility assistant will become available this year, turning the vehicle into a mobile internet hotspot.
Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann: “Every year, Opel sells more than one million cars – with a continuing upwards trend as we are in the middle of our model and engine offensive. The highlight of this year is the presentation of the new Astra. I promise you, also on behalf of our 35,000 employees: this car will once again thrill our customers, and gain a lot of new fans for the brand.”
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