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.
At the end of last year, Opel announced its intention to open the order books for the new electric Corsa and the Grandland X as PHEV in the first half of 2019. The Corsa is likely to have the same technical data as the DS 3 Crossback, and indeed Opel will enable reservations this 4 June. Lohscheller promised a competitive price for the market launch, which could be as early as December: “With the new Corsa, we are making e-mobility affordable for a wide range of customers. This will be a real “‘Volks’ electric car,” promised the CEO, clearly with a thought or two of rivalling VW. The latter launched the ‘E-mobility for all’ campaign followed by the First Edition ID.3 not even a week ago, accompanied by statements such as “We don’t produce for millionaires, but for millions”.
However, Opel Team Joest was in for a tough fight. Not only had Alfa Romeo not been sitting on their hands, Mercedes-Benz had finally found the time to build a proper Class 1 car. Although the C180 V6 DTM lacked four wheel drive and only produced 400 horsepower, it featured a 6-speed sequential transmission, F1-derived active suspension, an innovative active ballast system which counteracted the pitching and diving of the nose under acceleration and braking and an all-carbon bodyshell bringing weight down to 980 kg (2161 lbs).
The extra-light, all-aluminium engines, together with optimization of the front and rear axles, also contribute to the low total weight. The particularly compact three-cylinder petrol engines weigh around 15kg less than the previous generation of similarly powerful four-cylinder units. Highly unusual in the small-car-sector is the new Corsa’s aluminium engine bonnet, which although longer, saves 2.4kg in comparison to the previous model’s bonnet made of steel. The Insignia flagship was previously the only model in the Opel range with an aluminium bonnet. The seats also have been put on a diet. The new optimized seat structure saves a total of 10kg – 5.5kg at the front, 4.5kg at the rear. New lighter insulating material was used for fine tuning. Altogether the measures result in a weight reduction that, in combination with optimum aerodynamics and the efficient powertrains, will lead to a considerable reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
Intelligent lightweight design begins on the computer, using the newest virtual development methods. The specific use of various steel grades and connection methods enabled the Corsa’s big weight reduction. This includes the consistent use of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels, as well as the optimization of load paths, connections, structure and form. Compared with the previous model, the body-in-white is 40kg lighter. The next Corsa is based on the multi-energy platform for small and compact cars, which allows a variety of propulsion systems. Customers can choose from combustion engines or the all-electric version.
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