The real people’s car successor was the 1962 Kadett A. The low maintenance costs were expressly part of the recipe for success of the two-door notchback model. The lines were matter-of-fact and modern. At the same time, the interior space was anything but typical of a small car. The advertising promised “well-formed seats, plenty of legroom. We have dispensed with overhanging metalwork and unnecessary bells and whistles. That would only have cost a lot of money.” Instead, the boot was a real luggage compartment and – the fuel filler cap was on the outside! “You never have the smell of petrol in your boot,” it said with a wink towards Wolfsburg. With its modern, water-cooled front engine, the Kadett offered a further design advantage over the Beetle. “Opel Kadett, in short: O.K.” – Opel built almost 650,000 units by 1965 alone.
A prototype for the next-generation Opel Corsa has been snapped during winter testing in Northern Europe, wearing a full-body wrap. As such, it's easy to discern the car's overall shape and form, but hard to make out many of its details. Despite this, we can see it will look substantially different to the next-generation Peugeot 208, which was spied earlier this month...

The way it nearly came to the US is interesting, though. Back then, GM North America was a very different place than GM Europe, and it looked like there was very little interest in bridging the gap, unlike today. But after GM bought a 50% stake in the Trollhattan trolls, the General was now burdened with the problem of attracting more than devotees to an aging lineup at dealerships. The solution was to sell the Calibra to Americans through Saab dealerships, but badged as a Saab.


Use the dropdown at the top right of this page to find sales figures for any other car model sold in Europe since the early 2000’s.   Car sales statistics are from the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland. Sources: Manufacturers, ANDC, JATO Dynamics.


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But that all began to change quickly in the fall of 1965, when the new Kadett B appeared on both sides of the Atlantic. This ad trumpets the Kadett’s doubling of sales in 1966, and taking the number two import spot. That still left a pretty big gap behind VW, but in the next three or four years, the Kadett did enjoy a very profound explosion in the US. There were two main factors: the B was a bit bigger in every dimension, making it a somewhat more palatable for Americans, although it still used the A’s rather archaic transverse leaf-spring front suspension and a torque tube in the back with leaf springs.

Funny enough, the Calibra almost made it to the shores through Saab dealers. The timing was fortuitous, the Calibra went on sale in 1990 or right around the time GM stuck its claws into Saab. Based on the also-not-for-us Vectra, the Calibra was a slick coupe that was touted as the most aerodynamic car in the world … in 1990. A drag coefficient of 0.26 is still damn good today.
Historically, Opel vehicles have also been sold at various times in the North American market as either heavily modified, or "badge-engineered" models under the Chevrolet, Buick, Pontiac, Saturn, and Cadillac brands - for instance the J-body platform, which was largely developed by Opel - was the basis of North American models such as the Chevrolet Cavalier and Cadillac Cimarron. Below is a list of current or recent Opel models which are sold under GM's North American brands.
Within Opel the Calibra was a car with potential but sadly much of it was unrealised. Valmet Automotive in Finland, who had a manufacturing facility that build Calibras alongside the German plant, produced two handsome convertible prototypes that never saw production. A Saab coupe based on the Calibra was also rumoured but, again, never saw the light of day. 

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After seven years, 238,647 Calibras had been produced at the main plant in Rüsselsheim, and also at Valmet in Uusikaupunki, Finland. The Calibra’s biggest markets were Germany, the UK, Italy, Spain and France. The 115 hp entry-level model led the sales charts with production totaling more than 130,000 units, followed by the 150 hp, 2.0-liter version, of which more than 61,000 were built.

The front-wheel drive Opel Corsa was first launched in September 1982. Built in Zaragoza, Spain, the first Corsas were three door hatchback and two door saloon models, with four door and five door versions arriving in 1984. In mainland Europe, the saloon versions were known as the "Corsa TR" until May 1985. The saloons did not sell particularly well in most of Europe but were popular in Spain and Portugal, among other markets.
The Corsa D was created using a new version of the SCCS platform, which was co developed by General Motors/Opel and Fiat,[40] and is also employed by the 2006 Fiat Grande Punto. The first official pictures of the Corsa D, were released by Opel in May 2006. In the United Kingdom, What Car? awarded it 2007 Car of the Year. The Corsa D placed second in the European Car of the Year for 2006, only behind the Ford S-Max.

Last time I was in Kosovo, I thought I saw a chevy monza. Turned out it was an Opel. That and I will say, 2 door asconas are decent looking cars. GM really bit itself in the ass from the lae 70’s on up. Opel made many good looking decent powered and fine handling cars that should have been imported here. Never happened. Too bad, ord did it for the mondeo and the focus.
As a German living in Germany, I join in the question “Where did they all go?”. Even in Germany you won`t find many Opel Kadetts “A-D”, the D-Kadett was built until 1984, being regularly driven anymore. Even at classic car shows that my wife and me attend with our cars you are sure to see at least about 30 vintage Porsche 911 or Mercedes SL for every Opel Kadett oder rear-wheel-drive (built until 1980) Ford Escort.
The Corsa is a supermini introduced by General Motors’ European subsidiary Opel in 1983 and produced until today. It has also been sold under a variety of other brands (most notably Vauxhall, Chevrolet and Holden) and names and spawned various derivatives in different markets, all of which are listed in appropriate sections below.Despite its global presence, it has never been sold in the United States or Canada.
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.

Using a gear-driven system, power was taken from the 6-speed sequential gearbox forward to the half-shafts, which appeared to embrace the raucous 54 degree V6. By doing this Opel had cleverly avoided a nose-heavy car, giving them a significant handling advantage. Weighing in at 1040 kg (2292 lbs)m the car looked like a serious challenger for Alfa Romeo.

The 1.0 L and 1.2 L Ecotec Family 0 engines are carry overs from the Corsa B; the 1.4 L Family 1 engine was replaced with a new 1.4 L Family 0 model. The 1.8 L Family 1 engine is an upgrade for the previous 1.6 L 16 valve engine and produces 125 PS (92 kW) and 165 N⋅m (122 lb⋅ft) of torque. The edition with the 1.8 L engine was named Corsa GSi and was the predecessor of the new Corsa OPC.
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