Production started on December 4, 1946. The Moskvitch 400/420 continued to be made in Moscow with some minor changes until 1956, when it was replaced by the Moskvitch 402. The latter was an all-new design apart from the engine, for which Moskvitch continued to use the Kadett side-valve engine until 1958, when it was replaced with a domestically designed OHV engine.
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.
As an Opel, it could've been a great rival for the Ford Probe, Mitsubishi Eclipse, Toyota Celica and all of the handsome sport coupes that popped up in the early '90s. You could get a Calibra with an all-wheel drive system, or a turbocharged engine (not from Saab), or a 2.5-liter V6 (shared with Saab). It had a hatchback for practicality. Versions with big wheels look rather handsome, too. Had it been priced like a Saab, though, it would've attracted too many comparisons with the E30 and E36 coupes from BMW at the time, and that probably wouldn't have ended well.
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.