Changes in the Opel cars under GM's management did not appear until January 1950, when a face-lifted Olympia was introduced. Front and rear fenders were elongated and a heavy horizontal chrome grille was added. A retrograde step was the replacement of the four-speed gearbox with a three-speed unit, with a column shift lever. Engine tuning emphasised high torque at low engine speeds so the extra ratio was not too sorely missed. The cabrio-coach model was returned to the Olympia range and a kombi was also offered, built by Karosserie Miesen. In February 1951, in preparation for the first postwar automobile show in Germany, the Olympia was dressed up further with a trunk compartment that enclosed the spare tire and 15-inch (38 cm) wheels instead of 16-inch (41 cm) wheels and tires. With minor further changes, this model lasted to March 1953.
By the 1970s, Opel had emerged as the stronger of GM's two European brands; Vauxhall was the third-best selling brand in Great Britain after the British Motor Corporation (later British Leyland) but made only a modest impact elsewhere. The two companies were direct competitors outside of each other's respective home markets, but mirroring Ford's decision to merge its British and German subsidiaries in the late 1960s, GM followed the same precedent. Opel and Vauxhall had loosely collaborated before, but serious efforts to merge the two companies' operations and product families into one did not start until the 1970s - which had Vauxhall's complete product line replaced by vehicles built on Opel-based platforms - the only exception to the rule being the Bedford CF panel van, the only solely Vauxhall design which was marketed as an Opel on the Continent. By the turn of the 1980s, the two brands were in effect, one and the same.
1966 wis the year that Opel opened thair new plant at Bochum, devotit exclusively tae Kadett production. Atween 1965 an 1973 Opel produced 2,691,300 Kadett Bs which maks this model ane o the maist successfu Opels tae date in terms o sales volume. The Kadett benefittit on the domestic mercat frae a progressive slowin o demand for the auld Volkswagen Beetle, while the Ford Escort an Volkswagen Golf which wad compete for sales mair effectively against the Kadett C baith got aff tae a relatively slow stairt respectively in 1968 an 1974.
The Kadett D wis introduced in November 1979, goin on sale in the UK some five months afore the Breetish version, the Vauxhall Astra Mark 1, wis launcht in Aprile 1980. Aw models wur designed as three- or five-door hatchbacks an estates or station wagons. Thare wur an aa twa- an fower-door sedans, which uised the same bodyshells as the hatchbacks, but thir wur suin dropped. An aa dropt, in comparison tae the C Modell wis the Coupé.
A convertible version wis an aa available, for the first time in 1987, biggit bi Bertone o Torino/Italy, bringin it tae line wi key competitors sic as the Ford Escort an Volkswagen Golf which wur available as cabrios afore. For the 1988 model, capacities wur raised tae 1400, 1800 an a new 2000 cc ingine, again uised on the GSi an Vauxhall Astra GTE. In 1988, a 16-valve twin-cam version wis developed for a hie performance GSi/GTE model, yieldin 156 hp (115 kW) in manufactured form.
In 1982 Opel once again accomplished a great feat with a small car: the Corsa A joined the range below the Kadett, which by now was becoming a compact model. Designed by Chief Designer Erhard Schnell, who also penned the legendary Opel GT, the only 3.62m-long Corsa was notable for its prominent rally-car wheel arches and a drag coefficient of 0.36. Offered initially as a two-door hatchback and sedan, and a five-door as of 1985, the Corsa again demonstrated how masterfully Opel can generate space on a small platform. The 100hp GSi also combined frugality with fun. Originally conceived as an entry-level model for those on a tight budget, the Corsa A had become a bestseller by 1993 with a total of 3.1 million units sold.
In 2012, Opel announced the closure of the Bochum plant (now known as Plant Bochum II), effective 2016, with the loss of approximately 3,000 jobs, in response to the manufacturer's longstanding over capacity and loss of market share in key western European markets. Ellesmere Port in England became Opel's lead plant for the Astra/Kadett platform for subsequent generations.
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).
Factory involvement from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Rover, Ford, Opel and finally Audi propelled the DTM into the public eye. With cars strongly resembling the ones parked down virtually every street, the series managed to gain traction among the average car buyer. Nowhere else could you see your uncle’s boring Rover take on your dad’s humble Ford in a ferocious battle to the finish line. With contact a frequent occurrence, the spectacle was complete.
Faced with an ever-evolving Alfa Romeo and a regrouped Mercedes-Benz, the company was simply lagging behind for the second time during their short DTM career. It was clear something drastic had to happen to bring the car up to speed. With Joest and Cosworth sharpening their swords for a definitive strike, 1995 would have to be Opel’s breakthrough once and for all.
The base car was available only as a two-door "Limousine" (sedan/saloon). Customers looking for a soft-top "Cabrio-limousine" would need to specify a "Kadett Spezial". For the first time Kadett buyers, provided they were prepared to choose a "Kadett Spezial" could also specify a four-door "Limousine" (sedan/saloon) bodied car, priced at 2,350 Marks as against 2,150 Marks for a "Spezial Cabrio-Limousine" and 2,100 Marks for a two-door "Spezial Limousine".
Rüsselsheim. In 2019 Opel celebrates 120 years of automobile production – and thereby 120 years full of innovations for everyone. The German brand has a tradition of pioneering high-tech advancements and quickly bringing them to series production. This makes mobility affordable for many and the cars safer, cleaner, more comfortable and more practical. The 120 years advertising campaign, “Opel. Born in Germany. Made for everyone.” is based on this philosophy. It was as true of the first Opel – the Patentmotorwagen “System Lutzmann” of 1899 – as of all the other models that followed, from the “Doktorwagen” to “Laubfrosch” (Tree Frog), P4 and Kadett. Today the philosophy matches the Opel Corsa more than any other model.