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Opel is a German automobile company, a subsidiary of the General Motors Company, which designs, assembles, and distributes vehicles and vehicle parts. It’s headquartered in Rüsselsheim, Hesse. Vehicles designed by Opel are sold under the Vauxhall marque in the UK, the Holden brand in New Zealand and Australia, and the Buick marque in Canada, the USA, Mexico, and China.
The founder of the company, which has become one of the largest automakers in Europe, is Adam Opel. Originally, when it was just established in 1862, the company’s specialization was sewing machines. In 1886, Opel began to make high-wheel bicycles (penny-farthings).
The first Opel car was constructed in 1899 by Adam Opel’s sons (he died in 1895) in collaboration with Friedrich Lutzmann but their cars could hardly be called successful. That’s why in 1901, they signed an agreement with the Automobiles Darracq S.A. (France) and started to make vehicles under the Opel Darracq marque. By 1914, Opel became the largest automaker in Germany. Besides, this company is the first one to introduce a mass production assembly line for automobile making in the country.
The American General Motors Company became interested in the promising company and purchased it entirely in 1931.
During the WWII, as all other automakers, the company was forced to switch to military equipment production. It made tanks, aircraft parts, worked on air-cooled engines, etc.
In 1947, Opel resumed civilian automobile production with the Olympia model. From then onward, Opel manufactured new models as well as improved old ones to suit different population categories’ pocket, taste, and demands.
Among them are the Kapitän (1948), Olympia Rekord (1953), Admiral (1964), Diplomat (1964), Kadett (1965), Opel GT (1968), Ascona A (1970), Manta A (1970), Commodore (1972), Senator (1978), Monza (1978), Opel Omega (1986), Opel Vectra (1988), Astra (1991), Opel Millennium Express (1999), Opel Agila (2000), and others. Currently, Opel delivers saloons (Astra, Insignia), hatchbacks (Astra Classic, Insignia), estate cars (Astra Classic), and vans (Vivaro). A diversity of the line-up made the company the third largest passenger car manufacturer in the European Union in 2014.
Opel means comfort. The manufacturer takes the problem of comfortable driving seriously. After consulting doctors, they designed the Ergonomic AGR-Sport Seats that adjust to drivers and passengers’ body peculiarities to save them from back pain and make them relaxed during a trip.
Opel means safety. The Opel cars’ safety system aims to prevent accidents as well as provide the best protection in the case an accident has still occurred.
Opel Eye recognizes traffic signs and warms against the lane departure to improve driving safety and prevent from fines. Adaptive Forward Lighting makes night driving safer due to headlights’ ability to change light intensity according to a location, speed, and weather conditions. Rear Cross Traffic Alert sends signals if some vehicle – that can hardly be seen – is approaching when reversing. Side Blind Zone Alert averts collision on multilane highways detecting a vehicle that has crossed the car’s blind spot, which cannot be seen in the side mirrors.
Opel means flexibility. The automaker equipped the Meriva with rear-hinged doors for greater safety and easiness when climbing in and out of the car. Also, now you can take your bicycle/bicycles with you carrying them in the FlexFix bike carrier system that draws out of the rear bumper without the need to mount a bike rack.
(It’s worthy of note that not all innovative technologies are mentioned here. Opel has developed much more of them).
Popular Opel Models: