I bought a used Opel Wagon in 1971. It came to the US from Brazil where my college roommate’s father worked for an American firm. It was a 1968 model, had impressive handling and was fun to drive. While the car was excellent in all respects, and I owned it from ’71 through ’74, I took a lot of grief about it. Gas station people made comments like “Is this your car? It’s not paying your taxes.” and “Does this thing come with a motor?” and “This thing is made for insects.” But, worse, were the insults from the Queens County (NYC) Buick dealer parts department who consistently said really nasty things to folks buying replacement parts: “Ya look like the kinda’ guy who’d buy this ting”. After completing my Industrial Design degree, and I went on to design vehicles here and abroad, I never bought a GM car.
Chevrolet has only released a teaser photo of the redesigned 2016 Spark minicar so far, but the final product has been hiding in plain sight as the Opel Karl that debuted at the Geneva auto show. The Chevrolet version will have a slightly different look with its brand-specific fascias, but the European-market Karl otherwise provides a good preview of the U.S.-market Spark we’ll see at the New York auto show in a few weeks.
In the front, the Crossland X features a prominent grille with a shining Opel Blitz logo that is embraced by two chrome winglets and flow outwards to the ‘double-wing’ Opel signature LED daytime running lights. The horizontal lines from the Opel logo in the middle to the chrome winglets and the chrome bars following through to Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL) LED headlights create the illusion of extra width.
Rüsselsheim. The eagerly-awaited new Opel Corsa GSi has arrived! After the Insignia, the Corsa is the second GSi model now on offer. The newcomer impresses with its ultra-precise OPC chassis – for exemplary handling and short braking distances. The Corsa GSi is powered by Opel’s lively 1.4-liter turbo with 110 kW/150 hp and 220 Nm of torque (fuel consumption l/100 km: 8.0-7.7 urban, 5.5-5.1 extra-urban, 6.4-6.0 combined, CO2 g/km 147-138 combined). The four-cylinder power unit features a special GSi-calibration for increased responsiveness. Mated to a short-ratio, six-speed gearbox, the engine delivers outstanding punch in second and third gears, as well as a maximum torque plateau from 3,000 to 4,500 rpm.
Detail improvements, such as a new dashboard and a steering-column shift, embellished the Kapitän line in May 1950. Bigger changes were saved for March 1951, to anticipate the opening of the doors of the Frankfurt show on 19 April for an 11-day run. Its earlier fast-back style was modified to a mild notch-back contour, and a new horizontal grille – not the prettiest in Opel history – dominated the frontal view. With a higher compression ratio (still only 6.25:1), engine power was 58 bhp (43 kW; 59 PS) at 3,700 rpm and top speed was 80 mph (130 km/h). Output increased to 60 bhp (45 kW; 61 PS) during the further life of this model, which ended in July 1953.
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).
On 29 February 2012, Opel announced the creation of a major alliance with PSA Peugeot Citroen resulting in GM taking a 7% share of PSA, becoming PSA's second-largest shareholder after the Peugeot family. The alliance was intended to enable $2 billion per year of cost savings through platform sharing, common purchasing, and other economies of scale. In December 2013, GM sold its 7% interest in PSA for £250 million, after plans of cost savings were not as successful. Opel was said to be among Europe's most aggressive discounters in mass-market. GM reported a 2016 loss of US$257 million from its European operations. It is reported that GM has lost about US$20 billion in Europe since 1999.
The Crossland X is actually built on an updated version of the Peugeot 2008’s underpinnings and has Peugeot-Citroen-DS engines. It’s a joint-venture with the French company, and the other half of that venture is the Citroen C3 Aircross, due a month or two later. The C3 Aircross, just like the Crossland X, is a pseudo-crossover designed to replace an MPV – in that case the C3 Picasso.
Create a design that combines the attributes of a sports utility vehicle with those of a car designed for the urban lifestyle. That was the challenge facing the designers of the Crossland X, Opel’s cool new crossover. The designers have therefore created a unique crossover interpretation of Opel's design philosophy. Sculptural Artistry meets German Precision that reflects the stylish yet functional character of the Crossland X.
The case of the Saab Calibra is one I'm glad didn't pan out, but I wish the car had made it here somehow. Even weirder than this was a plan to sell the Opel Senator through Porsche dealers in the late '80s, after GM's dealers were uninterested because their lots were full of Park Avenues and didn't need another luxo-barge competing. Strange, too, since the company was willing to sell that car as an Opel until the cost of importing became too strong. That likely killed the math for sending the Calibra here, too.
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.