In 1957 Opel Product Director Karl Stief was mandated by General Motors headquarters in Detroit to develop "the perfect Anti-Volkswagen" ("einen perfekten Anti-VW"). The development team was headed up by Stief, supported by Hans Mersheimer (car-body) and Werner K. Strobel (engine and running gear), under conditions of such secrecy that even now very little is known of the development history of the 1962 Kadett. It has been alleged that GM was trying to conceal a new technique of platform and design sharing between Opel and its British sister company Vauxhall, which released the strikingly similar Viva HA in 1963, a year after Opel introduced the Kadett. Over the subsequent two decades Opel and Vauxhall's ranges would rapidly converge as Vauxhall's design independence from Opel was eroded to the point where by 1985, Vauxhall's car range entirely consisted of rebadged Opel models. 

Other events which would powerfully affect Opel's future were taking place in 1948. In February and March, a GM study group came to Germany to investigate every aspect of Europe's economic situation and Opel's special problems. On their return, they submitted a report on 26 March recommending that General Motors resume control of Opel. On 5 April, however, GM's financial policy committee concluded, "in view of the many uncertainties surrounding the operation of this property, the Corporation is not justified in resuming the responsibility for its operation at this time..." GM, it seemed, did not want Opel.

The range has a high level standard specification compared to similar vehicles from other manufacturers, including a lane departure warning system, cruise control, speed limiter, trip computer (instant MPG, average MPG, average speed, stop watch and trip computer), tyre pressure monitoring system, electronic stability program and traction control, front fog lamps and cornering lamps.


The handling and ride are basically fine, but are all but invisible from the point of view of a keen driver. The Crossland is tidy through corners, with reasonable steering weight but no actual feedback, and the body tilts over only to a reasonable angle. The ride is a touch stiff in its damping, especially around town (which is disappointing, given that any Crossland will probably spend most of its life in town) but it does improve on the open road. Refinement is only average though with quite a bit of wind and road noise. There’s little point in having Opel’s phone-based OnStar concierge service fitted if you can’t hear what the operator is saying . . .
The handling and ride are basically fine, but are all but invisible from the point of view of a keen driver. The Crossland is tidy through corners, with reasonable steering weight but no actual feedback, and the body tilts over only to a reasonable angle. The ride is a touch stiff in its damping, especially around town (which is disappointing, given that any Crossland will probably spend most of its life in town) but it does improve on the open road. Refinement is only average though with quite a bit of wind and road noise. There’s little point in having Opel’s phone-based OnStar concierge service fitted if you can’t hear what the operator is saying . . .
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.
Despite its age, the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa was ranked #10 in Europe's best-selling cars top last year. An all-new model is right around the corner and it should help the supermini put up a good fight against other subcompact hatchbacks like the next-gen Renault Clio and Peugeot 208. Today, Opel is releasing some technical details about its revamped five-door-only city car, emphasizing on the diet it’ll be going through for its sixth iteration.
“We are celebrating 120 years of automobile production this year and therefore 120 years full of innovations for everyone”, said Opel CEO, Michael Lohscheller. “We have always made top technologies accessible to all. That is our mission and our motivation and it applies especially to a model that is as popular as the Opel Corsa. We will therefore equip the next generation of our bestseller with the best lighting technology – IntelliLux LED® matrix headlights.”
The smallest Opel in the current line-up replaces the Suzuki co-developed Agila with a Chevrolet Spark twin. Which is convenient since the Chevy brand is now defunct in Europe. The LPG-powered Karl (also known as the Vauxhall Viva in the UK) uses the same petrol engine as all the non-LPG variants (in fact, the line-up comprises one unit altogether), offering 75 PS of power and 95 Nm of torque from a displacement of 999 cm3. Which means the smallest Opel is poised to face the Skoda Citigo, which is also offered in autogas guise in some markets, including Poland.
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.
“We are celebrating 120 years of automobile production this year and therefore 120 years full of innovations for everyone”, said Opel CEO, Michael Lohscheller. “We have always made top technologies accessible to all. That is our mission and our motivation and it applies especially to a model that is as popular as the Opel Corsa. We will therefore equip the next generation of our bestseller with the best lighting technology – IntelliLux LED® matrix headlights.”
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.
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.

In 1993, a 125 kW/168 hp 2.5 litre V6 (C25XE or SE4) was introduced. Available with both manual and automatic transmissions, the V6 was not as fast as the Turbo, but was rather more civilised, and proved to be more reliable than the complex four wheel drive model. 1995 saw the introduction of the X20XEV Ecotec engine, a new version of the classic C20XE 16 valve or "red top" engine.


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 Corsa C arrived in the 2002 model year as a five door hatchback, and was imported from Europe; but for the model year of 2003, the Corsa sold in Mexico began coming from Brazil and a saloon version was added. In 2005, the saloon version introduced a semi-automatic transmission called easytronic because it was only offered in a five speed manual transmission, however, the easytronic transmission was rapidly discontinued after the model year of 2007, because of poor sales and technical flaws.[citation needed]
Power will come exclusively from a three-cylinder 1.0-liter naturally aspirated gasoline engine developing 75 HP (55 kW) delivered to the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox. Opel and Vauxhall say the chassis has been tweaked to provide "exceptional safety and comfort" and both cars come with traction control, hill start assist and electronic stability control.
^ General Motors Austria Gesellschaft m.b.H. (GMA, founded 1963 as sales organisation; from 1979: Administration, Non-productive Departments an Sales) and General Motors Austria Werke Gesellschaft m.b.H. (GMAW founded 1979; Production). In November 1987 GMAW (Austrian Handelsregister, HRB 24.436) were merged into GMA (HRB 20.133b, actual Firmenbuch FN 110500a).
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