Thursday, 23 August 2012

50 years of Opel compact sedans: Getting better all the time

  • New Astra sedan after half-a-century notchback tradition
  • World premiere at the Moscow Auto Salon (August 29 – September 9)
  • Success story starts 1962 with Kadett A

    In 1962 the Opel Kadett A is launched. It lays the foundations for the modern compact segment of Germany during its economic boom years. It also makes mobility affordable to a growing middle class. There are three variants: one of them is the two-door sedan which marks the beginning of the Opel’s success story of compact notchbacks with a separate trunk. Fifty years later, the new Astra sedan is celebrating its world premiere at the Auto Salon in Moscow (August 29 – September 9, 2012). In that sense, it is also a milestone, marking a half-a-century tradition of Opel sedans in the compact segment. It is also an anniversary within an even bigger anniversary: Opel is this year celebrating its 150th birthday as a company. There are very few other car makers that have such a long tradition. Opel’s first ever compact car was already born 76 years ago with the arrival of the 1936 Kadett. So far Opel has sold ten generations of compact vehicles, equivalent to 22 million cars.

    Opel Kadett B (1965 – 1973)

    Opel compact cars often served as icons in their segment. Take for example this iconic advertising slogan from 1969.

    From the 1962 Kadett A to the Kadett B (1965 – 1973) that was famed for its avant-garde advertising slogan “Opel Kadett. Das Auto.” through to the current new Astra line-up, there has always been a sedan variant in the Opel compact segment. The only exception is the Kadett D line (1979 – 1984) which was the first front-wheel drive car at Opel but was launched without a notchback variant. However, this gap was filled in 1985 with the arrival of the next model generation. Since then, Opel has maintained this body style as a four door variant in its portfolio.

    An overview of Opel’s compact sedans:

    Kadett A (1962 – 1965): Two doors
    Kadett B (1965 – 1973): Two and four doors
    Kadett C (1973 – 1979): Two and four doors
    Kadett E (1984 – 1991): Comeback of four door sedan in 1985.

    Astra F (1991 – 1997): Four door starting early 1992
    Astra G (1998 – 2004): Four door from fall 1998
    Astra H (since 2004): Four door from fall 2007
    Astra J (since 2009): Four door complements new Astra line-up starting fall 2012

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