The next step for Opel was the resumption of passenger car production. It might have seemed easiest to bring back the Kapitän 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.
Erede della Agila, la Opel Karl è una citycar personale e moderna, proposta in Italia solamente in versione Rocks, con stile da crossover. Abbina una carrozzeria davvero compatta (368 cm di lunghezza) a un’abitabilità fra le migliori della categoria: agevolmente accessibile grazie alle cinque porte (l’angolo di apertura è ampio anche nel caso di quelle posteriori), fa viaggiare comodi sia davanti sia dietro. Lo spazio concesso a chi siede sul divano è stato, però, sottratto al bagagliaio, capace di soli 206 litri ed espandibile a 1013 abbassando lo schienale (che, però, non rimane perfettamente in piano). Per una vettura di questa categoria le finiture sono soddisfacenti, come d’altronde la cura dei dettagli: per esempio, il cruscotto comprende il contagiri; disponibile come optional anche il sistema multimediale IntelliLink con touch screen di 7”, radio digitale, connessione allo smartphone e chiamata automatica dei soccorsi in caso di necessità. Scelta obbligata per il motore, un 1.0 a benzina abbinato a un cambio manuale a cinque marce, ben manovrabile finché non si pretende di utilizzarlo sportivamente. Vivace a sufficienza e parco nei consumi, a dispetto del frazionamento a tre cilindri vibra e si fa sentire poco: caratteristiche che garantiscono un discreto comfort (anche se le sospensioni non sono molto morbide). Adeguata la dotazione di sicurezza della Opel Karl, comprensiva di airbag laterali e per la testa di serie.
By 1970, the Kadett’s brief stay in the US import car rank number two was over, having been muscled aside by Toyota’s hot new redesigned Corolla (CC here). The Corolla was very much a car in the Kadett’s formula: traditional rwd and conventional in every respect. But the combination of a high D-Mark, and Toyota’s hot momentum changed the tide forever. In the US, the Corolla would soon enough depose VW out of the top slot. In Germany, the Beetles rapid crash and the Kadett’s success forced VW’s hand with the very advanced Golf, recouping the gold. The Kadett/Astra were the perennial number two in germany, but some years ago, it dropped further down the the top seller list, as smaller cars, including Opel’s Corsa have become more popular. But the Golf still sits on the throne.
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 Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz. This position was familiar 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 actually fully recovered from the consequences of the postwar era.
the Chevy Chevette, while a MUCH better car than the Vega was at the time, and even now, that’s not saying a whole lot, other than it WAS infinitely more durable and longer lasting and reliable than the Vega, though by ’76, the Vega was decent enough, but the damage was done. I know as my Mom drove a ’76 Vega from roughly 78-83 with the only major thing being the carb being rebuilt around 1980. The Chevette was basically a redesigned Kadett/Vauxhaul Chevette.
*Fuel economy values are determined through CO2 measurement in accordance with the latest ECE R101/SANS 20101 standards, as prescribed by South African government, conducted in a controlled environment and were correct at the time this disclaimer was published, which is subject to change. The specifications are for comparison purposes between the different vehicle models available in the S.A market which are all tested in the same manner, specific driving cycles and controlled environment.
^ General Motors Austria Gesellschaft m.b.H. (GMA, founded 1963 as sales organisation; from 1979: Administration, Non-productive Departments an Sales) and General Motors Austria Werke Gesellschaft m.b.H. (GMAW founded 1979; Production). In November 1987 GMAW (Austrian Handelsregister, HRB 24.436) were merged into GMA (HRB 20.133b, actual Firmenbuch FN 110500a).