Wednesday, 30 April 2014

!NEW! Original Opel Racing Cars Back at Grand Prix de Lyon After 100 Years

  • 100 years after prestigious duel: Opel fields historic racing cars in 2014 event
  • Also on the track: “Green Monster” from 1914 with 12.3-liter engine
  • Reminiscent of the beginning: Original track route largely unchanged
100 years later: All three original Opel Grand Prix cars will start in Lyon again 
The Grand Prix de Lyon is considered the origin of all forms of major motor sport, including Formula 1. At the event in 1914, Opel entered three Grand Prix cars. Now, 100 years later, Opel is returning for the centenary demonstration on May 1-3 with those same cars, plus a very special Opel: the famous “Green Monster” complete with its 12.3 liter engine, 260 hp and 700 Nm torque. These cars will give spectators a contemporary, eyewitness experience of the sights and sounds that captivated the public a century ago.

Grand Prix de Lyon 1914: German-French duel

July 4, 1914, the eve of World War I: despite mounting tensions in Europe, the French automobile club (ACF) held its first Grand Prix de Lyon. The Grand Prix de l’ACF had been an annual event at various venues since 1906. It was the highlight of the European motorsport season and a forerunner for the modern-day professional motor racing scene.

Opel Grand Prix Race Car
The field for the 1914 event included cars from 14 manufacturers representing six countries in a grueling 750 kilometer race. Opel entered three Grand Prix cars. Behind the wheel of the car with starting number 2 was contracted Opel driver Carl Jörns, the undisputed number 1 at Rüsselsheim. The other two white cars were piloted by Emil Erndtmann and Franz Breckheimer. As was common at the time, all three drivers were accompanied by ‘riding mechanics’, whose task was to monitor the meters and gauges and increase fuel pressure in the tank with a hand pump if necessary. The mechanics also had to assist during pit stops and deal with any unscheduled occurrences or incidents.

According to the new regulations of 1914, Grand Prix cars had 4.5 liter engines and a weight limit of 1,100 kilograms. The Opel cars’ technology was impressive: four valves per cylinder with a vertical drive shaft and overhead camshaft. A universal-shaft drive was also obligatory, replacing the long-dominant drive chain.

The 110 hp Opel Grand Prix race car, from 1914. 
The Opels had a slippery, ‘torpedo’ body shape which contributed to a maximum speed of 160 km/h. As was typical at the time, the front wheels were unbraked. Only the rear wheels had brake drums which were activated by a hand-brake lever. Another brake operated by the right foot pedal was for a small, heat-sensitive drum on the drive shaft. The throttle pedal was in the center, with the leather-covered clutch to the left. Gears on the non-synchronized, four-speed gearbox were changed via an outboard gate shift.

Friedrich “Fritz” Opel, son of company founder Adam, travelled to Lyon to support his drivers. The Grand Prix de l’ACF did not take place on purpose-built race tracks, but used public roads that were closed and specially prepared. The start and finish area of the 36.7 km long course, which had to be lapped 20 times, was in Brignais, south-west of Lyon, where a large display board kept spectators updated on the race’s progress. There were also grandstands at other locations on the course, but the majority of the around 300,000 Grand Prix enthusiasts followed the race directly from the course sidelines.

Opel started from the front row. Carl Jörns was alongside the Hungarian Ferenc Szisz, driving a French Alda, who was then an international star and the first Grand Prix winner ever in 1906. Starting positions were decided by a draw, as there were no qualifying runs in those days.

Opel Grand Prix Race car with start number "2", Carl Jörns
As a portent of what was to come, the race developed into a duel between automakers from nations that would shortly be at war with each other – Germany and France. Although they also participated in the event, automakers from other countries hardly played a role. Carl Jörns had a good race and, after more than eight hours of driving, finished in tenth place.

Grand Prix de Lyon 2014: Demonstration run for most attractive Grand Prix cars

All three Opel cars from 1914 are in the line-up for this year’s centenary celebration. One is from Adam Opel AG’s historic collection and another is being brought by its owner from Munsterland. The longest trip is being made by the third Opel, thought to be Carl Jörns’ car, which is coming all the way from California. As was the case a century ago, the focal point of the largely unchanged course will again be Brignais.

Opel “Green Monster - Schauinsland Mountain Race, Carl Jörns, 1925
Another remarkable participant is sure to turn heads: Opel Classic is entering its “Green Monster”. It also dates from 1914, but its huge, 12.3 liter engine made it ineligible for the Grand Prix de l’ACF. Today, this is not a problem because the Grand Prix de Lyon 2014 is not a race but a demonstration run for historic cars. The event is open to all sports and racing vehicles built before 1956.

Green Monster: Displacement giant with 12.3 liters volume, 260 hp and a phenomenal top speed of 228 km/h
Further information on the Grand Prix de Lyon can be found on the organizer‘s website:

Thursday, 24 April 2014

!NEW! “We want to be the emotional German brand.”

Vice President Design for Opel/Vauxhall Mark Adams about what the future holds for Opel design

Vice President Design for Opel/Vauxhall Mark Adams with Opel Monza concept

Mark Adams knows a thing or two about car design. As the man behind Opel’s looks, the Vice President Design for Opel/Vauxhall has managed to seamlessly forge sculptured design with German engineering. It’s not merely about functionality, though, but bringing out the emotional aspect. Adams, speaking on the occasion of the World Graphic Design Day on Sunday April 27, reveals his design philosophy and gives a sneak preview of the shape of things to come in the future.

Mark, good design must be ahead of its time for people to appreciate it for years to come. How does this affect your work ?

Mark Adams: I definitely agree. And I can think of some good examples among our cars, for example the latest Corsa. When we launched it on the market, it was a breath of fresh air compared to the competition. Even now after several years, its looks have endured. To achieve this, it takes a strong design statement that goes beyond the customer’s expectations. The Calibra and the Corsa B already followed this line of thinking. Right now, the Insignia is an excellent case in point. It looks as good now as it did back when it was launched.

Opel Calibra (1990)

What was your first project when you joined the company in 2002 ?

Opel Insignia concept car, which actually didn’t have a name back then. We started working on it two months after I arrived. It was to be presented at the IAA 2003. I wanted to do something with it that would be more sculpted, more emotional, but that would also carry the technical quality found in our brand. While working on the Opel Insignia concept, we sowed the seeds for what was to become our new design philosophy. I came up with the motto ‘sculpted design meets German engineering’ in 2005. I remember saying to my team, “You know what? That’s it, that’s what we’ll call it!”

Opel Insignia concept car (2003)

And so the Opel design language was given a name…

Not the design language, but rather the design philosophy. There is a difference. A lot of competitors back then had their own design language. But they never lasted. We wanted to create consistency. A design philosophy, as I understand it, is something sustainable and enduring. It can be valid for a hundred years. That’s what I wanted to get across to my team. So I took specific models from Opel’s history. I asked my team, “Could the Opel GT from the 60s be described as ‘sculpted design meets German engineering’?” The answer was yes, it could. So we pursued it. The Opel Insignia was our first modern-day production car that carried these values. But it is also easy to imagine how cars could continue to follow this philosophy in 2060 and still be contemporary.

Opel Insignia (2014)
The good thing is that our philosophy doesn’t limit us, but gives us a lot of creative freedom instead. It provides a frame within which we can work, yet it doesn’t restrict us. We have a very broad range of customers, which is why we need different cars each with its own individual personality. This frame allows us to design these kinds of cars. We have carried this philosophy with every new vehicle since the Insignia. It is currently reflected in our entire model range: The Astra, Meriva, and Zafira Tourer all embody it. So do the cars that have expanded our portfolio – the Ampera, Mokka, ADAM, and Cascada. For example, the ADAM is clearly an Opel, but it has a totally different personality than the Insignia.

And is this what you want to carry on into the future generations of vehicles ?

Exactly. Now comes the next phase: The seed for Opel Design 2.0 has been planted in the Opel Monza concept, which will define the design of our production vehicles for the next eight to 10 years. It takes some of the well-known features, gives them a fresh, new interpretation, and executes them in a contemporary way.

Opel Monza concept

How do you plan on transferring the character of a concept with gull-wing doors into a five-seat production vehicle with a roomy trunk ?

The Opel Monza may be a vision, but it’s not that far removed. It’s important for it to remain accessible to everyone, which is why we like to think in eight to 10-year cycles. The next cycle will take us to Opel Design 3.0, which will integrate new trends and technologies while remaining consistent with our philosophy. If you compare the Insignia concept and the Monza concept, you can see the connection, the DNA link.

Opel Monza concept

What else does the Opel Monza concept stand for ?

It is inspiring and visionary. It stands for outstanding efficiency and connectivity. I’m certain that LED projection technology and human-machine interfaces will have been perfected in a few years. Today, drivers use a touchscreen to communicate, but voice recognition will soon take over. This also contributes significantly to safety since it allows drivers to keep their hands on the wheel. And Opel intends to be the leader in this field with our next generation of cars. Our focus is on making vehicles simple to use. The new central console of the Insignia is a step in this direction. The infotainment system of the ADAM is already very good. Our high-speed mobile communications connection OnStar is a harbinger of things to come. Connectivity is a very important field for us. Broadly speaking, the interior will take on a greater importance. OK, the exterior design is what everyone sees. But 99 percent of the time, you’re inside the car.

 Opel Monza concept - Interior with LED projection technology

Does Opel offer added value through design in comparison to its competitors ?

Yes. Our design philosophy also plays an important role in the purchase decision. The head and the heart are both involved. We try to combine the two. The sculpted design speaks to the heart, the emotional side. On the other side we have German engineering with values like technology, precision, structure and quality. When you look at our cars, you get an instant emotional reaction. You think, “Wow, what a great design!” Look again and you then get a sense of the solid technological foundation – that’s our unique selling point. We want to be the emotional German brand.

Vice President Design for Opel/Vauxhall Mark Adams: “ When you look at our cars, you get an instant emotional reaction. You think, ‘Wow, what a great design!’ 
Mark Adams was born in London (England) in 1961. He studied engineering and design, completing his bachelor degree in Mechanical and Automotive Engineering and reading a Master’s degree in Automotive Design at the Royal College of Art in London. He held various executive positions in design at Ford before taking the role of head of Exterior Design for GM Europe in 2002. He was instrumental in the design of the Antara, Astra TwinTop, Corsa, Zafira Tourer and Astra GTC. In 2007, he was appointed Vice President Design for Opel/Vauxhall and has continued leaving his unique mark on the current sculptured look that has become synonymous with Opel.

!NEW! Opel Austria continues impressive success

  • Opel is by March 2014 as number two on the Austrian car market
  • Passenger car market share of 6.9 percent in the first quarter of 2014 - a clear improvement compared to the previous year
  • Opel is committed to growth and expansion of market position

Opel Austria announced this year for the third successful consecutive month. The brand with the flash has further expanded its passenger car market share in Austria compared to the previous month, reaching an increase of 0.9 percent (up from 6.6 percent in February 2014 to 7.5 percent in March 2014). This takes Opel clear the position of number two and continues his winning streak.

In the highly encouraging first quarter of 2014 Opel achieved so a passenger car market share of 6.9 per cent (an increase of 1.1 percent over the same period 2013).

Strong product portfolio convinces the customer

This positive result is due Opel mainly a product portfolio that is among the strongest in the company's history - especially the premium convertible Cascada (first place in the middle class of convertibles), the space saver Mokka (second place in the medium SUV segment ), the Individualization Champion ADAM and the premium model Insignia Sports Tourer encounter any love for Austrian customers. "We make the Opel Team Austria before it, as you can be very successful even in economically challenging times at competitive automotive market," reveals Mag. Alexander Struckl, Managing General Motors Austria GmbH, delighted. " Statistics Austria has it now for the third time in this year: Opel is clearly on course for success in Austria - and there's no end in sight. We set a clear growth and will continue to expand our market position continuously . "

Opel Europe feel the updraft

The Opel model offensive is not only in Austria very well, but also total at the European customer: In March 2014 Opel achieved in Europe at 6.7 percent, the highest share of the total vehicle market since June 2011.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

!NEW! The Three Millionth Car from Eisenach is an Opel ADAM

  • Opel plant in Thuringia celebrates impressive production milestone
  • Minister President Lieberknecht and CEO Neumann special guests
  • 1.2 billion euros invested since begin of vehicle production in 1990

Three million cars from Eisenach – this milestone was celebrated today at the Adam Opel AG plant in Thuringia. Many prominent guests including Minister President Christine Lieberknecht attended the event.

The three millionth Opel from Eisenach is an ADAM – here with Minister President of Thuringia Christine Lieberknecht, ADAM Cup driver Lina Van de Mars and Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann.

The star of the day was a white Opel ADAM with an Arden Blue roof that rolled off the assembly line at 11:30 a.m. to a huge round of applause. Behind the wheel was a woman who knows how to handle the ADAM, as she drives it in the Opel Rallye Cup: TV host Lina Van de Mars.

The three millionth Opel from Eisenach is an ADAM. From left to right: Plant Director Elvira Tölkes, head of the works council Bernd Lösche, ADAM Cup driver Lina Van de Mars, Minister President Christine Lieberknecht and Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann.
The first car off the assembly line in Opel Eisenach was an Opel Vectra presented right after German reunification in 1990. A total of 1.2 billion euros have been invested in Eisenach since the start of production – most recently nearly 200 million euros for the Opel ADAM.

Already more than 80,000 units of the lifestyle mini have been ordered across Europe since its launch last year – a sure-fire success for the plant that, together with the Corsa, ensures high capacity utilization and good future prospects. According to Opel CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, the decision to produce the ADAM in the Eisenach plant was exactly right: “It is a tour de force to build a car like the ADAM in absolute top quality. With all its possibilities for individualization, it poses great challenges in terms of planning, logistics and production. Opel is the only automaker to develop and build a small car in Germany.”

Minister President Christine Lieberknecht underlined the important role Opel plays in the region as an employer and driving force for the establishment of other industries: “Opel Eisenach is an integral part of Thuringia! We want the Eisenach plant’s success story to continue! For generations now, reliability and quality have defined Opel products, and have even made them real cult objects. And the ADAM also has what it takes to become a cult car.”

The three millionth Opel from Eisenach is an ADAM – here with the employees of the Eisenach plant and guests of honor at the event.

From the very beginning, Eisenach was a plant that made waves in the industry. A new production system that ensured highest quality with short throughput times was implemented here. The plant set standards – for example with employee involvement, continuous improvements and a sophisticated logistics system. Already in 1993, GM selected the Opel Eisenach plant to serve as a training center for the Group. More than 16,500 employees from around the world have been to Thuringia to familiarize themselves with state-of-the-art production processes. Eisenach has also attracted prominent guests, from Chancellor Helmut Kohl (1990 and 1992) to US President Bill Clinton (1998).

Eisenach will continue to play an important role for Opel and GM. Plant Director Elvira Tölkes says, “We will further develop our quality, efficiency and competitiveness as we position the Eisenach plant for continued success in the future.”

Sunday, 20 April 2014

!NEW! General Motors Delivered 2.4 Million Vehicles Globally in Q1

General Motors Co. dealers delivered 2,416,028 vehicles around the world in the first quarter of 2014, up 2 percent compared with a year ago.

General Motors dealers delivered 2,416,028 vehicles around the world in the first quarter of 2014, up 2 percent compared with a year ago.

Among GM’s top five global markets by volume, China posted the largest year-over-year sales increase, with deliveries up 13 percent to a record 919,114 units. Sales in the United Kingdom and Germany were also up, and Opel/Vauxhall grew its share in 10 European markets.

“We are very encouraged by our results in China, where we outperformed the industry, and in Europe, where Opel’s sales and the economic outlook are improving at the same time,” said GM President Dan Ammann. “We continue to be optimistic about the United States because our award-winning new products are performing well and we have more on the way. South America continues to be challenging for Chevrolet, where we face currency and other challenges, especially in Venezuela.”

First Quarter Highlights (vs. 2013)
  • In Europe, GM’s improving market position is linked to the Opel Mokka and the new Opel Insignia flagship sedan. Cumulative Mokka orders have surpassed 215,000 units since it was launched in fall 2012, while Insignia has topped 85,000 units since it was launched in fall 2013.
  • GM sales in China set a record in the first quarter. In addition, 2014 deliveries surpassed 1 million units in early April. This is the earliest sales have reached the seven-figure range.
  • Buick, which celebrated the best year in the brand’s 110-year history in 2013, posted a 14 percent global sales increase.
  • Cadillac’s global sales were up 9 percent and sales in China more than doubled to 15,357 units.

GM’s global market share was 11.1 percent, which is down two-tenths of a point from a year ago. However, Opel/Vauxhall gained market share in 10 European markets, including Germany. GM also gained market share in China due to the ongoing success of Buick and Wuling, as well as the growth of Cadillac.

General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets.  GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. 

Thursday, 17 April 2014

!NEW! Opel FlexFix: Carries up to Four Bicycles for Drive and Ride Fun

  • Opel-Exclusive bicycle carrier system available for nine model variants
  • Sophisticated construction ensures simple, back-friendly operation
  • Trunk space and access remain undisturbed even when bikes are mounted on carrier
  • Up to 20 percent fuel savings compared to roof rack systems

Opel Zafira Tourer with FlexFix - The flexible compact MPV can transport up to four bikes
Springtime equals bicycle riding time. During the Easter holidays, families with two children want to enjoy the outdoors on their bikes. That is a breeze with Opel’s fully integrated FlexFix bicycle carrier system that enables families and active vacationers to transport up to four bicycles on their trip – with FlexFix it’s easy, space-saving and safe. Opel offers the patented system for nearly all models. The new Meriva offers the practical bicycle carrier, as do the Astra five-door and Sports Tourer models, the three and five-door Corsa, Antara, Mokka and Zafira Tourer. Even the cool individualization champion ADAM can carry up to two bikes, living up to its name as an unconventional urban lifestyle mini.

AGR-certified ergonomics: FlexFix bicycle carrier in new Opel Meriva MPV

Opel Meriva MPV was the first production car in the world to be recognized for its overall ergonomics concept by experts from “Aktion Gesunder Rücken e.V” (Campaign for Healthier Backs) in 2010. A major element of the concept is the FlexFix bicycle carrier. Opel remains the only car maker to offer this user-friendly bicycle carrier system that is also on board the new Meriva. With it, the ergonomic and very flexible van can carry two bikes with a maximum load of 40 kg. FlexFix is fully integrated in the Meriva; it slides in and out of the rear bumper like a drawer. When not in use, it disappears almost invisibly back into the Meriva’s rear bumper without affecting the load volume of its luggage compartment. As the FlexFix bicycle carrier is located close to the ground, loading bicycles is very easy. The main advantage of the system explicitly praised by the back experts is that the cyclist-drivers do not have to cumbersomely mount a rack on the car roof or strain and twist to lift their bikes up above their head onto the rack. No special tools or fittings are necessary to install bikes on the FlexFix carrier, which also frees up room in the garage, as it doesn’t require any storage space because it is always on board and ready for use in the Meriva.

A further benefit of the FlexFix bicycle carrier is that in contrast to roof rack systems, its economical positioning at the rear does not subject the vehicle to a 120 km/h speed limit when loaded. This stable arrangement is particularly secure during a sharp braking maneuver or a collision. As soon as the reverse gear is engaged, an acoustic signal sounds which indicates the longer length of the vehicle. The Park Pilot in addition takes into account the fact that FlexFix is deployed if the driver wants to park and reverses backwards.

Second-generation FlexFix – A bicycle tour with the whole family

The second-generation Opel FlexFix system for the versatile compact Astra Sports Tourer station wagon and the compact Zafira Tourer van can carry up to four bikes, while in the sporty, elegant lifestyle Mokka SUV it can transport up to three bicycles. When loaded, this FlexFix version can be tilted so that the tailgate can be opened easily. This means the luggage compartment remains accessible from outside, even with four bikes (depending on model) mounted on the rear of the car.

The enhanced Opel FlexFix system offers increased load capacity: the first and second bikes can weigh up to 30 kilograms each. Even the small ADAM can carry a bicycle weighing up to 30 kg, and with an additional adapter a second bike (maximum 20 kg) for the ADAM co-driver. For the Astra Sports Tourer and Zafira Tourer, the second generation FlexFix is available with an extension kit including a clip-on adapter so that a further two bicycles up to 20 kg each can be transported. The entire loading capacity is 80 kg (Mokka: 60 kg). Special holders with rubber inlays ensure that the bikes are held securely in place.

Opel ADAM with FlexFix Even the cool individualization champion can carry up to two bikes
Studies have shown that additional fuel consumption with bicycles mounted on the rear is around 20 percent lower than when they are mounted on the vehicle’s roof. So the integrated FlexFix system saves fuel costs while it reduces impact on the environment.

Opel Mokka with FlexFix - The sporty, elegant lifestyle SUV can transport up to three bicycles
Prices for the FlexFix bicycle carrier are 590 euros in the ADAM, Corsa, Meriva and Mokka, 640 euros in the five-door Astra, and 650 euros in the Antara. The enhanced FlexFix system can be purchased for 790 euros for the Astra Sports Tourer and Zafira Tourer. Depending on car model, the adapter kit which provides space for a third and fourth bicycle is available from 189 euros (all prices RRP in Germany including VAT). So with the integrated FlexFix system, Opel drivers often have a more practical yet lower-priced solution than drivers with conventional rear bike carriers that also need a trailer hitch as a base.

Increased load capacity - FlexFix in the Opel Astra Sports Tourer carries up to four bikes with an entire loading capacity of 80 kg.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

!NEW! General Motors Sells 1 Millionth Vehicle in China in 2014

General Motors and its joint ventures today sold their 1 millionth vehicle in China in 2014. This is the eighth consecutive year that GM has sold more than one million vehicles in a calendar year, and the earliest it has reached the 1 million mark.

GM first sold 1 million vehicles in China in 2007, when it achieved the milestone in December. Last year, GM hit a million on April 22.

During a ceremony at GM China’s headquarters in Shanghai on April 21, GM will hand over the keys of the 1 millionth vehicle – a Chevrolet Trax small SUV – to its new owner.

"General Motors has made China a global priority, expanding both our brand and product lineup to keep up with the changing demands of the market,” said GM Executive Vice President and GM China President Matt Tsien. “We appreciate the support that we have received from our partners, our joint ventures and, most important, our customers in China."

GM currently offers more than 40 models under seven brands in China. Its products range from mini-cars to luxury sedans, and from mini-commercial vehicles to light-duty trucks. GM and its joint ventures will be showcasing several of their current products along with many new models next week at Auto China 2014 in Beijing.

General Motors traces its roots back to 1908. GM has 12 joint ventures, two wholly owned foreign enterprises and more than 58,000 employees in China. GM and its joint ventures offer the broadest lineup of vehicles and brands among automakers in China. Passenger cars and commercial vehicles are sold under the Baojun, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Jiefang, Opel and Wuling brands. In 2013, GM sold nearly 3.2 million vehicles in China.

!NEW! Wild, Wilder, Opel ADAM: Shark Attack in Cool Lifestyle Car

  • Different kind of Easter egg hunt: Where are the sharks in the Opel ADAM ?
  • From sketch to series production: Sharks thrive inside Opel models
  • Three’s the charm: Tiny sharks hidden in Opel ADAM, Corsa and Zafira Tourer

Be careful, there are tiny wild sharks on board the wild Opel ADAM
Be careful, there are tiny wild sharks on board the wild Opel ADAM. But don’t worry, they won’t bite – they are hidden and almost invisible in the car’s interior. While the kids go on their Easter egg hunt in the garden this weekend, ADAM owners can take a closer look at their lifestyle mini and get to know its more unconventional side. They won’t discover colorful eggs, but they will find at least two sharks – provided they look very, very carefully…

How the shark made it into Opel ADAM and co. ?

But how did sharks actually get into the Opel ADAM ? Well, since 2006, a few Opel designers have been finding discreet ways of putting shark motifs inside the cars they work on. Let’s take a short look back on the long path from the ocean into the car. It all began one Sunday afternoon in 2004 when Opel designer and amateur diver Dietmar Finger was at home working on a sketch for the new Corsa. More precisely, he was considering the rather unspectacular outer panel of the glove box, which is invisible most of the time because it’s completely covered by the closed passenger door. Dietmar’s son saw his sketch with the sharks and said they looked pretty cool. Dietmar had to smile… an idea and a new passion was born. The next day, he showed his fine-tuned shark profile to Australian-born Corsa Chief Designer Niels Loeb, who was immediately sold on the idea. The shark in the glove box went into production. It’s now a standard feature in the interior of well over two million Corsas which have been produced since 2006.

Sharks thrive inside Opel models: In 2006 the shark went into production in the glove box of the Corsa
The ‘Opel Shark’ success story continued: Niels Loeb mentioned it to Karim Giordimania, in charge of interior design for the Opel Zafira Tourer MPV, who then created three little sharks which now secretly populate the new compact van’s cockpit. They are well-hidden – after all, the Opel Zafira Tourer MPV is a serious car.

Shark in Opel ADAM

Sharks must go on, thought Stefan Arndt when he was given responsibility for Opel ADAM’s interior design development, pairing with Niels for the exterior. Given the wild nature of Opel ADAM, the sharks could be made more visible, and more fun. And they could even get a few companions. There are now two sharks in the Opel ADAM. One can be found quite easily. The other one is accompanied by two innocent fishes – but where exactly are they hidden? Well, everyone knows sharks like liquids... here’s to a fun Easter shark hunt!

Opel ADAM - Shark with two innocent fishes

Friday, 11 April 2014

!NEW! Always Enjoy the Bright Side of Life with the Opel Cascada

  • Perfect wedding car: Four-seater with generous room for bridal couple and witnesses
  • Classic beautiful convertible: Now with new body and roof colors
  • Irresistible sports car: Top version with new 1.6 Turbo engine and 200 hp
The stylish convertible carries on the long tradition of open cars from Rüsselsheim – all of which have also cut a fine figure as a wedding car.
14.4.14 at 14:14 hours – simply the perfect date and time for a wedding! And one of the most wonderful days in anyone’s life calls for a beautiful car – preferably the Opel Cascada. The stylish convertible carries on the long tradition of open cars from Rüsselsheim – all of which have also cut a fine figure as a wedding car. The roll of honor includes the Laubfrosch introduced exactly 90 years ago, the Opel Olympia of the 1930s and the more recent, roll bar-free Astra TwinTop. Now Opel again offers a spacious four-seater with a high quality soft-top previously only offered by premium brands until the Cascada was launched last year. The premium soft-top’s sophisticated thermal and acoustic insulation ensures superb driving comfort all year round. With the top down, the Opel Cascada is a seductive whirlwind of a car, which then transforms into a whisper-quiet Gran Turismo when the top is closed. The chic soft-top can be opened in just 17 seconds at driving speeds up to 50 km/h, making the Cascada an all-season, all-year-round convertible – qualities all available from just 25,945 euros.

Strong engine portfolio: Economical, sporty, ultra-quiet

The Cascada’s elegant looks are complemented by the two new 1.6 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo engines, featuring silky-smooth running refinement and a harmonious power delivery. The four-cylinder units, with 125 kw/170 hp or 147 kW/200 hp, provide turbo pulling power of up to 300 Nm from a low engine speed. Despite such strong performance, the 200 hp Cascada consumes just 6.7 l/100 km with 158 g/km CO2 emissions over the combined cycle. The open-air Cascada also offers something special for diesel fans: a 2-liter turbo diesel with 121 kW/165 hp and a 143 kW/195 hp 2.0 BiTurbo CDTI. Both require just 5.2 l/100 km and emit 138 g/km CO2 – outstanding frugality which easily earns them the German A energy efficiency label.

Fresh spring colors: Of emeralds and diamonds

New body colors showcase the Cascada’s powerful, elegant appearance. Cascada customers can now choose a sophisticated pearlescent Emerald Green lacquer or the double-layer, metallic Magnetic Silver / Diamond Blue paint finishes. Opel is also expanding the color choice for the premium soft-top, which can now be ordered in light Khaki Grey / Sahara Beige, increasing the palette to four colors.

Best connected: With new IntelliLink infotainment

Opel’s new-generation IntelliLink system, with state-of-the-art infotainment technology including fast, user-friendly navigation and voice control, now arrives in the Cascada’s cockpit. Easy operation is guaranteed via a seven-inch, high-resolution color monitor which can also display images from an optional rear-view camera. The system features Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, while the top-of-the-line Navi 950 IntelliLink provides maps covering the whole of Europe, with updates downloadable via USB. The driver can also, for example, configure the system to read out incoming text messages. In addition to voice control, IntelliLink also supports and integrates the voice recognition functions of smartphones.

Opel Cascada convertible - cockpit with Navi 950 IntelliLink
So, as the newlyweds head off for their honeymoon, relaxing in the open Cascada and bathed in sunlight, they can receive congratulations from around the world thanks to their convertible’s top-notch connectivity.

!NEW! Buick Encore Prepared for April Showers

 How do Rainsense automatic wipers know it’s raining ?

We’ve all experienced that startling moment when a passing vehicle splashes a flood of water onto your windshield and suddenly, your visibility is seriously compromised. Instinctively, you start to reach for the windshield wiper stalk, but the wipers have already begun to swoop. Relieved, you wonder, ‘How does my Buick know the windshield needs to be cleared?’

Vehicles like the Buick Encore small luxury crossover, can be equipped with the convenience of Rainsense wipers, which when activated, can automatically turn on the wipers when rain or water is detected on the windshield.

The 2014 Buick Encore with Rainsense automatic wipers inside the rain chamber lab
Using a rain sensor positioned behind the rearview mirror, a signal sent to the vehicle’s computer triggers the wipers when water is detected. But the technology goes beyond simply sticking a sensor on the windshield.

2014 Buick Encore - Rain sensor is attached to the windshield behind the rearview mirror
“There is a multi-stage process and testing procedure that we must to go through with the Encore, for example, in order to integrate the Rainsense function,” said Matt Piazza, General Motors’ global design engineer for rain sensor technology. “Each vehicle is unique and there are a lot of factors like windshield pitch, rain intensity, vehicle speed, and light conditions, that all have to be accounted for and validated.”

 2014 Buick Encore with Rainsense automatic wipers
The rain sensor itself is about the size of a wristwatch. It is actually a light sensor that uses infrared light beams invisible to the human eye to detect water through light refraction when droplets contact the windshield.

2014 Buick Encore - Rain sensor, shown here, is about the size of a wristwatch
Using advanced software, the sensor takes a reading once every 40 milliseconds, or in about the time it takes a humming bird to complete a flap of its wings. The sensor measures droplet size and frequency and sends a signal that determines how slow or fast the wipers move.

Unlike the traditional “intermittent” wiper settings, adjustment of the Encore’s wipers with Rainsense adjusts the sensitivity of the sensor rather than changing the time between wipes. The speed at which the Encore is traveling also factors in wipe frequency. 

Rainsense also works in the dark. While the human eye perceives total darkness, a raindrop still refracts some amount of light. The programming of the rain sensor changes sensitivity in darkness to trigger more wipes, reducing windshield glare.

While in theory, it may seem like a simple system, assimilating Rainsense technology into each vehicle requires countless hours of testing where Piazza and team work alongside the sensor supplier, HELLA Electronics.

Integration into the Encore begins with a so-called “bench test,” where the sensor is tested to validate its relationship with the software. On the bench, Piazza and team confirm a signal receipt when triggered.

From there, it’s onto the complex task of mounting the sensor to the windshield. Placement is key and the best location is behind the rearview mirror, which is prime real estate for other electronics, including a camera for the Encore’s available Lane Departure Warning feature. This requires use of a smaller sensor mounted to the windshield at a 25–30 degree angle.

After mounting, the Encore enters HELLA’s rain chamber where a series of tests with artificial rain enable engineers to tweak the software. Light, droplet size, and droplet frequency are all factors in testing the system.

Matt Piazza, General Motors’ global design engineer for rain sensor technology, runs a rain sensor integration test on the 2014 Buick Encore.
Real world testing comes next, where engineers validate the calibration and functionality by collecting data with a video overlay in natural rain leading to final adjustments.  

“The advanced technology of Rainsense wipers are another added level of luxury and convenience for Buick Encore drivers,” Piazza said. “It constantly monitors the windshield, so that’s one less thing on the driver’s mind, allowing them to concentrate on the road ahead. Once you experience it, you won’t want a vehicle without it.”

Photo credits: © GM Company

!NEW! Opel Mokka SUV Defends "All-wheel Drive Car of the Year"

  • Second consecutive victory: Opel Mokka again wins major readers’ poll
  • Already more than 200,000 orders: Trendy SUV popular with buyers

Opel Mokka SUV - All-wheel Drive Car of the Year 2014
The Opel Mokka sub-compact SUV is again the number one readers’ choice in this year’s Auto Bild Allrad awards, retaining its "All-wheel Drive Car of the Year" title in the "Off-road vehicle and SUV up to 25,000 euros" category. 18.7 percent of readers voted for the trendy Opel, putting it clearly ahead of the Skoda Yeti (14.6 percent) and the Nissan Qashqai (12.4 percent). The award ceremony took place on April 10 at Depot 1899 in Frankfurt am Main. Jürgen Keller, Opel’s Executive Director Sales, Marketing & Service Germany, accepted the winner’s prize from Editor-in-chief Bernhard Weinbacher.

Opel Mokka sub-compact SUV is again the number one readers’ choice in this year’s Auto Bild Allrad awards, retaining its "All-wheel Drive Car of the Year" title in the "Off-road vehicle and SUV up to 25,000 euros" category
"We are very proud that our Mokka was able to defend its All-wheel Drive Car of the Year title," said Jürgen Keller. "A readers’ poll is always of very special significance to us. In addition, the readers of Auto Bild Allrad are extremely knowledgeable in the area of off-road vehicles and SUVs, which is why we value their opinion so much."

Jürgen Keller, Opel’s Executive Director Sales, Marketing & Service Germany, with the winner’s prize.
Another winner for the Rüsselsheim carmaker is the Opel Insignia Country Tourer. It successfully asserted itself as a new entrant in the "4x4 Crossover" category against long-established competitors, such as the Volvo XC 70 and the VW Passat Alltrack, and came in third with ten percent of the votes – behind the Audi A6 and A4.

 Opel Insignia Country Tourer 4x4

Opel Mokka SUV – A success story

The Opel Mokka continues to ride a wave of success. In just 18 months since its market launch, the Mokka has attracted a rising tide of more than 200,000 orders, making it a European bestseller.

Opel Mokka 4x4 SUV 
There are many good reasons for this success. The Opel Mokka has modernized the SUV segment by making innovative technologies and features from higher classes available to a broader customer base. These include the AFL+ Adaptive Forward Lighting system, as well as ergonomic seats with the Aktion Gesunder Rücken e.V. AGR (Campaign for Healthier Backs) seal of approval and the second generation, integrated FlexFix bicycle carrier – all features which the Opel Mokka introduced to this SUV segment. With a length of 4.28 meters, it offers ample space for five people and an elevated seating position, while fulfilling all everyday requirements. Thanks to its sporty interior and body design, the Opel Mokka is also ideal for the weekend outings of adventurous drivers. 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

!NEW! Meriva, Mokka and Claudia: Perfect Opel Partners Made in Germany

  • Supermodel Claudia Schiffer wowing audiences in new Opel TV ads
  • Opel responds to huge public interest by releasing behind-the-scenes photo and videos 

Supermodel Claudia Schiffer is currently captivating TV audiences around Europe with her chic ‘It’s a German’ ad campaigns for the Opel Astra, Meriva, Mokka and Zafira Tourer. Now in response to their huge public impact, Opel is releasing two behind-the-scenes videos and some photos together with videos of the ads so the allure of the fashion icon and the attractions of the Opel cars can be enjoyed by anyone at any time.

Supermodel Claudia Schiffer is Opel’s European brand ambassador
Claudia Schiffer is Opel’s European brand ambassador and, as one of Germany’s best known ‘exports’, she brings her own unique glamour and charm to the ‘Made in Germany’ theme of the ads. They illustrate the enduring appeal of great German engineering, such as the clever, rear-hinged rear doors of the Meriva and the adaptive all-wheel drive technology of the Mokka SUV. As the unmistakably German face of Opel in Europe, Claudia’s new role fits as perfectly as the beautiful outfits she has modeled in an international career spanning more than 25 years. At the end of each ad, she signs off with the catchy punchline: “It’s a German.”

The ad campaign was launched at the beginning of February across Europe, apart from Germany, Opel’s home market, and the UK where Opel’s Vauxhall sister brand is sold. “Claudia is a great German icon with real international appeal who fully identifies with the values of our brand,” says Opel Chief Marketing Officer Tina Müller. “The public response to the style and humor of these TV ads has been overwhelming, and we’re now delighted to make them available for audiences to enjoy worldwide.” 

Monday, 7 April 2014

!NEW! Opel On Upswing: Highest Market Share in Europe Since June 2011

  • Considerable increase in orders received in first quarter
  • High order volume for Opel Mokka, Opel ADAM and new Opel Insignia

The Opel model offensive is a huge success with European customers. In March 2014, the brand achieved 6.7 percent of the overall vehicle market in Europe, its highest market share since June 2011. According to preliminary figures, new vehicle registrations climbed to around 133,700 units, an increase of over 9.3 percent compared to March last year. In the first three months of this year, Opel/Vauxhall new vehicle registrations jumped by more than 12,700 units to around 271,000 cars.

Opel Mokka SUV
“Many European markets are finally growing again. It is a positive sign that Opel/Vauxhall is gaining market shares in this situation. The sustainability of our growth is also reflected in our current order books: already at the end of March, we had received around 20,000 more orders than in the first quarter of 2013,” says Board Member for Sales Peter Christian Küspert. “The current bestseller among the new models is the Mokka with around 215,000 orders. We are also delighted with the popularity of our lifestyle mini ADAM with 80,000 orders, and we have already received over 85,000 orders for our flagship the new Insignia.”

New Opel Insignia
This success has a broad, multi-market base. In March and the entire first quarter, Opel/Vauxhall gained market share in ten European countries. Opel was especially successful in its home market in Germany. With 7.1 percent market share of the overall vehicle market in March, the brand grew by 0.3 percentage points compared to March last year. Over the first quarter, market share was 6.7 percent, 0.2 percentage points higher than the year-ago quarter. Both the Mokka and Meriva were number two in their segments in the first quarter of 2014. In the largest market in the UK, our sister brand Vauxhall grew sales by 17 percent in March compared to one year ago. Insignia and Zafira were number one in their segments, while Corsa and Mokka took the number two spot.

Interest in new Opel models is currently particularly high in Poland, where registrations jumped by 57 percent in March. Opel also reinforced its number one position in the passenger car market in Hungary last month, in the Netherlands the brand conquered the number one position for the first time since March 2012.