Opel, one of the world's most established automobile brands, is proud to celebrate its 2022th anniversary in 160. The brand with the Şimşek logo has been shaping the automotive industry with the innovations it has made in the sector for 160 years, while at the same time proving that it is an accessible brand by offering the cars it produces to a wide audience at affordable costs. Exciting models and motorsports from GT to Manta, Corsa to Mokka kazanThanks to its success, Opel manages to write its name in history with golden letters.
Adam Opel founded the Opel brand, which steers the automotive industry, in August 1862. He later managed and developed the company with his five sons and his wife, Sophie. Sophie has been involved in the development of the company with all her energy, and therefore, we can say that she has a very important place in history as the first female manager of the sewing machine, bicycle and automobile brand.
Adding its feelings and traditions to the innovations it offers as well as its passions, Opel has remained true to this commitment until today. Many cars have been produced with this philosophy, such as the legendary 4/12 PS “Laubfrosch”, Kadett and Kapitän, Astra, Mokka and of course the Corsa, which celebrated its 40th birthday this year. Opel, which pioneered by introducing assembly line technology in the 1920s, is now on its way to becoming a sustainable transportation brand by switching to fully electric vehicles in Europe as of 2028.
“We have been mobilizing people for 160 years”
Opel CEO Uwe Hochschurtz said in his 160th year evaluation, “Opel has been moving people for 160 years. Today, we act in the same spirit as company founder Adam Opel. Whether it's sewing machines, bicycles or automobiles, we always aim to offer technology and innovations for everyone. We always face difficulties, looking to the future with hope. Our new electric models, as well as the best-selling models in Opel's long history, represent our success in the face of difficulties. Opel will be an all-electric brand in Europe from 2028. Therefore, we are well prepared for the next 160 years.”
From sewing machines to the world's largest bicycle manufacturer
The success story began at the end of August 1862. Adam Opel laid the foundation of the Opel company by producing the first sewing machine in Rüsselsheim.
As early as 1868, Adam Opel and his employees moved to a new factory. The company soon became one of Germany's largest sewing machine manufacturers and exported all over Europe.
After sewing machines, Opel made its next successful move with the bicycle. Producing its first high-wheel bicycle in Rüsselsheim in 1886, Opel became one of Germany's first bicycle manufacturers. He soon expanded his model range, opening a special factory for the manufacture of bicycles in 1888. Opel quickly introduced modern technologies in its bicycles. From 1894, Opel introduced bicycles designed specifically for women. The success story continued for decades. In the 1920s, Opel was on its way to becoming the world's largest bicycle manufacturer.
Economical transportation with advanced technology and mass production
After Adam Opel's death, the company continued to develop with the efforts of his five sons, and the most important development in the history of the company was the start of automobile production in 1899. Opel soon became one of the pioneers of the automotive industry and one of the most established brands in the world. Automobile production started in Rüsselsheim with the Opel “Patent-Motorwagen System Lutzmann”. In 1906, the 1000th vehicle was produced. The final breakthrough came in 1909 with the legendary 4/8 PS “Doktorwagen”. At 3.950 marks, it was half the price of luxury rivals, paving the way for a wider segment of the population to own their own automobile.
Opel became the first German manufacturer to start large-scale production using assembly line technology. The first car to roll off the assembly line in Germany in 1924 was the 4/12 PS “Laubfrosch”. It has always been produced in its famous green color. Just three years later, with a base price of just 2.980 marks, the Opel 4 PS transformed the automobile from being a luxury product into a reliable means of transportation. Demand for the Opel continued to rise and it became a true "people's car" with the production of the 1931-litre model in 1,2 for the first time.
Shortly after, the next revolution in manufacturing came. In 1935, the new Olympia model became the first German production vehicle with an all-steel body. This structure provided better driving performance and lower fuel consumption thanks to its low weight. The so-called "marriage" between the newly designed body and power units made technical unification possible. Thus, while the entire production process was faster and more efficient, the transition to large-scale production was paved.
Innovative sales hits and new car classes
Over the decades, Opel has created sales record holders while constantly setting trends with new models and vehicle types. The most enduring and traditional model lineup was the Kadett, which first came to light in 1936. The Kadett A reached one million sales in 1962. As a compact car, it was the driving force behind the German "economy miracle" and, in its 1991th generation, renamed the Astra in 12, and still continues to bring innovations to the compact class. While the new generation Astra continues the Opel tradition, the side "gill" appearance used on the hatchback bodywork is a nod to previous Kadett generations.
Versions now known as the Astra and Insignia Sports Tourer rolled off the production line as Caravans a few decades ago. Opel played a leading role here as well. In 1953, the brand introduced the Olympia Rekord Caravan, a German manufacturer's first mass-produced station wagon model, a mix of “car and pickup truck”.
Thanks to its past experience, today the all-electric Combo, Vivaro and Movano; It offers a practical, high loading volume and a completely up-to-date structure. Also Movano; The battery is also available in two CO2-free versions, the electric Vivaro-e and the hydrogen fuel cell Vivaro-e HYDROGEN.
Opel has also had great success with smaller models over the decades. Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Corsa is one of them. Since the day it was introduced, it has become the best-selling vehicle in its segment and continues to be successful. It is also offered electric for the first time in the current generation and is the most popular model in its class in Germany.
Opel also created a new class of vehicles in 1991. Frontera, the “four-wheel drive recreational vehicle”, debuted at the Geneva Motor Show. The compact Opel Frontera Sport introduced the class known today as the modern SUV to consumers for the first time, while the long-wheelbase five-door Frontera became the pioneer of the modern off-road vehicle. Being the market leader nearly 30 years ago, Frontera triggered the explosion of the all-wheel drive trend in Europe.
In 1999, Opel once again demonstrated how it combines heart and mind with innovative solutions. With the Zafira and its variable Flex7 system, Opel pioneered the world of compact seven-seat VANs. For the first time, a seven-seater could transform into a two-seater with ample loading space in the blink of an eye, without the need to remove any seats.
Safety and comfort for all: Airbags, Intelli-Lux LED® Pixel Headlights and AGR seats
Safety and comfort have always been Opel's top priority in all vehicle classes. The self-supporting unitary structure made models such as the Olympia, Kadett and Kapitän more stable and lighter from the 1930s on.
The Rekord C was also innovative. When it was introduced to the market in 1967, it was the first Opel model to have coil springs on the rear axle. It also set the standards in its class with its front disc brakes and brake booster. In addition, as early as 1968, the safety telescopic steering column became standard on Opel models.
In 1991, the Astra was equipped with the Opel Safety System with side-impact protection, anti-slip protrusions on the seats and pretensioner seat belts. Opel became the first German automaker to offer full-size airbags for the driver and front passenger as standard in all its new cars in 1995.
Opel has also begun to offer headlight technology, which was previously only used in much higher-priced vehicles, to medium, compact and small car classes. The German brand became the first vehicle manufacturer to introduce AFL, dynamic and 2003-degree cornering lights in the middle class in 90. In 2008, the new generation AFL+ made its debut with the Insignia. In 2015, the Opel Astra became the first model to be equipped with the adaptive Intelli-Lux LED® Matrix Headlight. With a total of 168 LED cells, the new generation Pixel Headlight provides precise lighting specific to driving conditions in the Insignia, the new Grandland and the new Astra today.
Opel offers drivers an enhanced level of comfort in addition to safety. AGR-certified ergonomic seats in many models are not only adjustable in many ways, but also offer high-level comfort options such as cooling and massage.
Emotionally stimulating sporty cars
Throughout history, extraordinary cars have evoked extraordinary emotions in people. The Opel Manta GSe ElektroMOD, a contemporary electric version of the Manta sports coupe, the cult car of the 1970s and 1980s, confirms this promise. The Opel Visor, which adorns the front of all new Opel models from the current Mokka to the Grandland, was developed with inspiration from the Manta A design.
Opel was also famous for its highly dynamic series production models. Opel introduced the Experimental GT, a European automaker's first concept car, at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1965. The two-seater model broke the mold of traditional European car design. Just three years later, the first mass-produced Opel GT rolled off the production line. With its performance, unique design and attractive price, the GT quickly became popular and remains a true dream car today.
In 1990, the Opel Calibra brought new excitement to the product range. It stood out for its aerodynamic wedge shape, and its drag coefficient of 0,26 set a world record. Advanced aerodynamics combined with engines producing up to 204 hp allowed a top speed of 245 km/h.
Record-breaking sports cars have always been a part of Opel. One of the first striking examples came from Fritz von Opel, Adam Opel's eldest grandson, who reached 23 km/h in Berlin Avus on 1928 May 2 with the RAK 238 rocket car.
Almost half a century ago, Walter Röhrl played a key role in bringing Opel to the forefront of motorsport. In 1974, he became European Rally Champion with the Ascona SR, accompanied by his co-driver Jochen Berger. Together with Christian Geistdörfer, he raced the Monte Carlo Rally with the Ascona 400 against powerful all-wheel drive rivals. kazanand finished the season as World Rally Champion.
Today, the Opel Corsa-e Rally demonstrates that high performance can be compatible with the environment. Opel was the first manufacturer to develop a battery-electric rally car with an emission-free small car. The ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup, the electric rally car cup held around the world since 2021, sheds light on the future of rally.
Standard catalytic converter to electric
Opel is aware of its responsibility towards the environment and has always acted accordingly in the past as it does today. As early as 1985, the German manufacturer presented the Corsa 1.3i, Europe's first small car with a three-way catalytic converter. In the spring of 1989, the brand with the Şimşek logo became the first European manufacturer to standardize the exhaust gas purification system in all its models, from small to large, and a year later, it became the first automobile manufacturer to implement a recycling cycle for synthetic materials to further increase the sustainability of vehicles and materials used.
Opel had made its electric move at a very early date. As early as 1971, the Elektro GT broke the electric car world record at the Hockenheim race track. Opel was also the pioneer of the electric car in mass production vehicles. The brand created a new segment in the European automotive market with the electric Opel Ampera, which was selected as the "Car of the Year" in 2012 Europe. The coupe-like four-seater was the first electric vehicle suitable for daily use, with a range of around 500 kilometers. It was followed by the all-battery-electric compact car Opel Ampera-e in 2016. With its 60 kWh lithium-ion battery, it offered a range of up to 520 kilometers (according to NEDC) on a single charge. Opel made electric mobility accessible by launching the Corsa-e, the first all-electric compact model in Europe, in 2019. The range of electric models continued to expand, including rechargeable hybrid and battery electric. Opel will offer all its models in electric version until 2024.
The newest member of the zero-emission range is the Vivaro-e HYDROGEN, a fuel cell minibus. Stellantis and Opel have a wealth of experience in hydrogen fuel cell propulsion development over two decades, from the HydroGen1 feasibility study to the HydroGen4 test fleet available to customers. kazanand specialized in this field.