Opel campaigned the car extensively in motorsport too. The rally version was uncompetitive, but Opel eagerly waded into the 160mph traffic jam that was the International Touring Car Championship. The ITCC was created from the German DTM series, in which Opel had struggled. A rule change allowed Opel to use a new 480bhp V6 derived from the road car. The resultant four-wheel-drive monster carried Manuel Reuter to the 1996 ITCC driver's crown and Opel won the manufacturers' gong, beating Alfa Romeo and Mercedes-Benz. It was the Calibra's finest hour.
Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., and Charles Erwin Wilson ("Engine Charlie" Wilson), GM's president, were considering the options. 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.
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In marketing terms the "Kadett KJ38" was intended to fill the niche that Opel had recently vacated with the departure of the Opel P4, but the KJ38, priced at 1,800 Marks, was more expensive than the P4 and its reduced specification left it with the image of a car for poor people (..Image des Arme-Leute-Autos..) at a time when economic growth in Germany was finally fostering a less minimalist approach to car buying. The "Kadett K38 Spezial" fared better in the market place: in 1938 and again in 1939 it was Germany's top selling small car. By May 1941 the company had produced 17,871 "Kadett KJ38"s and 56,335 "Kadett K38 Spezial"s.
The range has a high level standard specification compared to similar vehicles from other manufacturers, including a lane departure warning system, cruise control, speed limiter, trip computer (instant MPG, average MPG, average speed, stop watch and trip computer), tyre pressure monitoring system, electronic stability program and traction control, front fog lamps and cornering lamps.
EUR 24,780JPY 3,047,940BGN 48,465CZK 638,110DKK 185,084GBP 21,490HUF 8,034,419PLN 106,705RON 117,990SEK 267,104CHF 28,019ISK 3,414,684NOK 242,819HRK 183,652RUB 1,814,154TRY 167,840AUD 40,049BRL 110,873CAD 37,460CNY 191,430HKD 218,342IDR 401,414,194ILS 99,484INR 1,958,549KRW 33,036,696MXN 533,211MYR 116,015NZD 42,265PHP 1,459,492SGD 38,077THB 876,270ZAR 395,851
The Kadett A (above) finally appeared in 1962, and was a classic GM/Opel effort: highly pragmatic, conventional in every respect, reasonably stylish for its time, and designed to deliver a good bang for the buck. In just about every way possible, it was the antithesis of the VW: front-engine rwd, a rather tinny but roomy body, highly tossable but with a primitive suspension and ride, a very roomy trunk, and excellent visibility as well as economy. Oh, and a proper heater even! Its little 987 cc OHV four made 40 net/46 gross hp, six more than the VW 1200. Its trim fighting weight of 1475 lbs (670 kg), some two hundred pounds less than the VW, showed in both its acceleration and body integrity.