Saturday, 31 May 2014

!NEW! Class-leading Customer Satisfaction: Opel Meriva MPV Wins Again in J.D. Power Survey

Titleholder: As in 2013, Opel’s compact van wins Small MPV category


New Opel Meriva MPV
Winning a title is hard enough; defending it is even tougher. While no football club has successfully defended the European Champions League crown, the Opel Meriva has retained its title as the champion compact van in the prestigious J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Report, once again scoring the highest rating in its segment.

Opel Vice President Thomas Simon holds the J. D. Power Award for class-leading customer satisfaction  
In the ‘Germany 2014’ J.D. Power VOSS (Vehicle Owner Satisfaction Study), the Meriva has achieved an approval rating of 80.4 percent, placing Opel’s master of ergonomic design well ahead of competitors, including the Nissan Note and Citroën C3 Picasso. The Opel Insignia is also putting a smile on the faces of its owners. Opel’s flagship model achieved a strong sixth place in its keenly-contested, mid-size class with an extremely high 81.7 percent approval rating. Customers are therefore extremely satisfied with the Opel Meriva and the Insignia.

"The J.D. Power VOSS Report is an important indicator in the field of customer satisfaction and these results show that Opel’s strong focus on high quality has a very positive impact on customer satisfaction,” says Thomas Simon, Vice President Quality at Opel. “Owners – the people who buy our cars – are justifiably the toughest critics around if their vehicles show any signs of weakness, so these high approval ratings for the Meriva and Insignia make us at Opel very proud. The results are an incentive for us to continue investing in the quality and excellent real-world capability of our products."

Established institution in USA – and in Germany since 2002

J.D. Power and Associates is one of the best-known market research organizations in the world and its annual satisfaction survey has been carried out among vehicle owners in Germany since 2002. In the 2014 J.D. Power Report, more than 18,000 drivers were asked about their experiences in an online questionnaire. Participants had been driving their vehicles for around two years and a satisfaction rating is only given if at least 50 evaluable responses have been received. Questions in the survey cover four categories: quality/reliability, attractiveness, service standards and maintenance costs.

Premiered in January 2014 – New Opel Meriva MPV now even better

Launched in 2010, the Meriva set the standard in its segment for affordable flexibility, and it still leads its class in the field of ergonomics. Features such as: rear-hinged FlexDoors which make it easier to get in and out; its highly adaptable FlexSpace rear seat concept; excellent ergonomic seats for the driver and front passenger; an elevated seating position for all occupants; the patented, fully integrated FlexFix bicycle carrier system, and numerous intelligent storage options all combine to make the Meriva a true champion of ergonomics.


The new Opel Meriva MPV, premiered at the Brussels Motor Show in January, is now even more attractive, elegant, efficient and functional. It is distinguished by fresh design accents and state-of-the-art technologies which further increase comfort and efficiency. The gasoline and LPG engine portfolio, as well as the new generation 1.6 liter turbo diesel, already fulfills future Euro 6 emissions standards. The new 1.6 CDTI is regarded as the quietest and most efficient diesel engine in its class: the 110 hp version delivers combined cycle fuel consumption of just 3.8 l/100 km, with emissions falling below the 100 gram CO2 barrier at 99 g/km.



Upgraded transmissions also enable more precise and smoother gear shifts. In addition, Opel’s advanced IntelliLink infotainment system is quick and simple to use, integrating smartphone functionality inside the Meriva’s cockpit.

New Opel Meriva MPV - IntelliLink infotainment system

Thursday, 22 May 2014

!NEW! Opel Flagship On Course For Success: Already 100,000 Insignia Orders

Strong demand for new Opel Insignia since its premiere last fall


New Opel Insignia four-door notchback: Opel design language with premium flair

New Opel Insignia four-door notchback: Wing-shaped LED tail lights
The new Opel Insignia is in great demand: since its IAA premiere and market launch last fall, Opel has already received 100,000 orders for the new generation of its mid-size model. With even more attractive styling inside and out; strong, ultra-efficient, direct injection engines; state-of-the-art IntelliLink infotainment technology and an extended range of models, the new Insignia has been well received by the car-buying public. In the first four months of this year, it was number one in its segment in Great Britain, Spain and the Netherlands. And in many other markets, including Belgium, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Norway, Opel’s upgraded flagship has asserted its presence as the number two choice of customers. In Germany, it also occupies second place in its segment among the volume manufacturers – with an impressive growth rate of 46 percent compared to the same period last year.

New Opel Insignia: Completely new infotainment generation with IntelliLink
"In the few months since its presentation, 100,000 car buyers have already ordered the new Opel Insignia – this shows that our new, even more modern and elegant flagship is appealing to both the hearts and minds of our customers," enthused Peter Christian Küspert, Opel Board Member for Sales and GME Vice President Sales and Aftersales, commenting on the success of Opel's mid-size contender.

New Opel Insignia Country Tourer: Adventure-loving Insignia family member 
An outstanding eye-catcher in the extended model range is the Insignia Country Tourer. It complements the role of the Sports Tourer as an elegant family and business station wagon, exuding an air of adventure with striking body paneling, an underride guard, four-wheel drive and high-torque turbo engines. With these qualities, the Country Tourer is already the choice of about five percent of all Insignia customers.

New Opel Insignia Sports Tourer: Elegant family and business station wagon

The new Opel Insignia range offers three propulsion alternatives: gasoline, diesel and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). The available power spectrum ranges from 88 kW/120 hp up to 239 kW/325 hp for the top OPC sports model. The Insignia 2.0 CDTI is the champion of the range in terms of economy and environmental performance. With a state-of-the-art, 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine, it emits just 99 grams of CO2 per kilometer in output variants of 88 kW/120 hp and 103 kW/140 hp. This means that four and five-door models with six-speed manual transmissions consume only 3.7 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers over the combined cycle.

New Opel Insignia liftback: Most streamlined five-door liftback in the world with a drag coefficient of just below 0.25

Featuring prize-winning technology and design, more than 600,000 units of the first Opel Insignia generation have been sold since its launch at the end of 2008, and it has collected more than 50 national and international awards. The new edition of Opel’s flagship is now continuing this prize-winning tradition. At this year's Plus X Awards, the Insignia Country Tourer and Insignia OPC alone each received three plaudits for quality.

New Opel Insignia OPC: The ultimate Opel powerhouse

The new Opel Insignia with a 103 kW/140hp, 1.4 liter gasoline turbo engine, Start/Stop and a low-friction, six-speed manual transmission is available at an entry-level price of 24,545 euros (RRP incl. VAT in Germany). 

!NEW! Opel ADAM ROCKS Through Electromagnetic Test

  • Stylish mini crossover Opel ADAM ROCKS shortly available following world premiere
  • Opel EMC Center ensures trouble-free performance from auto-electric systems
  • Advanced communication and infotainment systems raise test requirements

Opel ADAM ROCKS through electro-magnetic test: Opel engineers at the company’s EMC labs (EMC = electro-magnetic compatibility) ensure there is no mutual interference between different electronic systems.
The stylish Opel ADAM ROCKS is ready to roll. After recently making its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show, Opel will begin taking orders for its new mini marvel in a few days’ time. And from September, the first three-door mini crossover that’s less than four meters long will be adding color to the streets of Europe. That’s because the Opel ADAM ROCKS is not short on charm and sets many new standards. It debuts Opel’s all-new 1.0 liter ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo engine. This compact power pack – optionally available with 66 kW/90 hp or 85 kW/115 hp – sets new standards for three-cylinder engines in terms of noise and vibration suppression, as well as comfort. Then there is the nippy little lifestyle vehicle’s unmistakable design, with that unique Swing Top canvas roof – and, of course, its highly-praised, advanced IntelliLink infotainment system. Opel ADAM ROCKS therefore offers the full range of innovative entertainment and navigation electronics, together with comprehensive connectivity options.

Opel ADAM ROCKS through electro-magnetic test: Opel engineers at the company’s EMC labs (EMC = electro-magnetic compatibility) ensure there is no mutual interference between different electronic systems.
Of course, all this technology has to function perfectly from day one for the whole of the vehicle’s life. For this reason, the ADAM ROCKS – like every other Opel model – must pass a thorough examination in Rüsselsheim's EMC Center.

Opel ADAM ROCKS at the EMC Center: What at first glance looks like a giant egg box turns out to be a miracle of radiation absorption.
‘EMC’ is short for electro-magnetic compatibility, and Opel engineers at the company’s EMC labs have been involved throughout the entire vehicle development program, right up to series production. At every step of the process, they ensure there is no mutual interference between different electronic systems. In the old days, for example, it was merely a question of suppressing typical crackling noises from the radio caused by the car’s generator, the ignition system, the wiper motor or similar components. Today, the task is much more complex. After all, the ADAM ROCKS – just like the rest of the ADAM family – offers a broad range of state-of-the-art electronic functions. These include safety features, such as ESP and the electronic brakeforce distribution, as well as the parking pilot, the sound system and, of course, all the infotainment electronics. With comprehensive connectivity options via IntelliLink and constant data downloading through the navigation system, particularly high demands are placed on the suppression of interference. The electronic systems are therefore hermetically sealed off from external influences – and ADAM ROCKS is proof that this can be done just as effectively with its unique, fabric Swing Top canvas roof as in a fixed-head sedan.

This is why the ADAM ROCKS had a final appointment at the EMC Center. What at first glance looks like a giant egg box turns out to be a miracle of radiation absorption. In the Center’s specially equipped rooms, which meet the quality standards for professional test labs applied by the German Accreditation Authority according to ISO 17025, the team of Opel engineers tests how the vehicle electronics react to possible electro-magnetic interference. This can be line-borne, via cable harnesses, or airborne, and the vehicle is exposed to all conceivable frequency ranges. The strange-looking absorbers on the walls are designed to "suck up" the emitted waves so they are not thrown back randomly into the room. In this way, engineers gather clean, useable measurement data. Only when all the vehicle’s systems are absolutely free of interference from external electro-magnetic radiation sources does an Opel model receive the green light of EMC Center approval. For the new ADAM ROCKS and its electronics systems, this means an examination passed with distinction. Nothing gets in the way of enjoying interference-free infotainment in Opel’s new, mini lifestyle crossover. 

!NEW! Opel ADAM scoops another award

  • ‘Carolina’ award in Best Economical Car category
  • More than 22,000 voters give the ADAM the thumbs up

"Carolina Award" for the Opel ADAM: Paola Trotta, Communications Director of General Motors Italia, received the prize on behalf of Opel.
It’s small, trendy, highly customizable and an award winner – the Opel ADAM beat off competition to win the ‘Carolina’ award in the Best Economical Car category, adding to its ever growing list of accolades. More than 12,000 Italian users of the AutoScout24 website voted for the ADAM in the Internet Auto Awards.

Paola Trotta, Communications Director of General Motors Italia, who received the award on behalf of Opel, said: “We are very happy that the ADAM won this prestigious award. It proves, once again, the level of appreciation for the numerous qualities that make up the ADAM, many of which – such as the IntelliLink infotainment system with ground breaking Siri Eyes Free – are closely connected with the online world, the same world that has assigned this award to the ADAM.”

The ‘Carolina’, the automotive version of the Oscar and a play on words using ’car’ and ‘online’, was specifically designed for this contest. There are five categories, namely Best Car, Best Sport Car, Best Economical Car, Best Green Car, and Best Electric Car. The award ceremony was held as art of the Automotive Dealer Day event in Verona on May21.

It is not the first time Opel has received the Internet Auto Award: the Opel Ampera won the Best Electric Car category in 2012.

The Opel ADAM has won numerous awards since its launch in January 2013, including the 2014 38th Readers’ Choice Award of the respected trade magazine auto motor und sport, the best interior in a production car at the “Automotive Interiors EXPO 2013” trade show in Stuttgart and the Auto Trophy 2013 organized by Auto Zeitung among others.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

!NEW! Opel Meriva MPV: Segment Leader with Top Comfort for “Best Agers”

  • Forward-looking: Designed for the young at heart and young families with children
  • Award-winner: Only production car with AGR seal for overall ergonomic concept
  • Functional: FlexDoors system for comfortable, back-friendly entry and exit
  • Ultra-modern: IntelliLink, economical whisper-diesel and low-friction automatic gearbox
Opel Meriva MPV is the first and only production vehicle in the world with an AGR seal of approval (from German Campaign for Healthier Backs) for an entire ergonomic concept.

New Opel Meriva MPV – upgraded, more efficient, more attractive and more comfortable than ever – cuts a fine figure both inside and out, making it a big hit with customers of all ages. In April the multi-functional Opel van was again number one in its segment (MPV B-Segment) in Germany, leaving all its main competitors behind. An important criterion for success is that the further developed version of the flexibility champion is as back-friendly as its predecessor. This is a key factor for a vehicle that is especially designed for active “Best Agers” who are over 50 and still young at heart and young families with children. The German Campaign for Healthier Backs (“Aktion Gesunder Rücken e.V.”) awarded its prestigious AGR quality seal to the Meriva, making it the first and only production vehicle in the world with such a seal of approval for an entire ergonomic concept.


“Best Agers” – A discerning group of customers on the rise

They are active, mobile and know what they want. Part of the demographic shift is the continuous growth of the so-called Best-Agers group. Some of them realize their professional dream as they get older and pursue a second career as a self-employed businessperson. Others invest more and more of their income in leisure activities such as holidays and travel. Therefore individual members of this group are increasingly interested in personal mobility. Out of the around 54 million passenger car driver’s license holders in Germany, around ten million are estimated to be older than 65 years of age, according to government statistics and the German Traffic Safety Council.


In the first seven months of 2013, the average age of new car buyers was 52.4 years old, while in 1995 this average was 46.1 years. Every third customer was older than 60, according to researchers at the CAR Automotive Research Center at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Scientists predict an increase in the average car buyer age to 55 in 2020.

The age of the purchasers has nothing to do with the usual clichés associated with old age pensioners and their habits on the road. Indeed marketing analyses and forecasting in the auto industry established that the “sixty-plus generation” was increasingly looking for a car that simply creates an emotional buzz and delivers the highest possible level of comfort, cabin-layout clarity, safety, design and ergonomics. These are all qualities offered by the Opel Meriva, which is now even more comfortable thanks to the new whisper-diesel and the clever IntelliLink infotainment system.

Innovative FlexDoors enable easy entry and exit

Innovative FlexDoors enable easy entry and exit: The most salient component of the Opel Meriva’s celebrated ergonomics concept is the revolutionary patented door system with its 84-degree opening angle.
The most salient component of the Meriva’s celebrated ergonomics concept is the revolutionary patented FlexDoors system. While the usual opening angle of doors is 68 degrees, Meriva’s 84-degree opening doors in front and rear allow easy access for all passengers. In order to facilitate entry and egress regardless of whether the car is parked in a tight or wide parking space, they have four different opening steps until they are almost perpendicular to the car. Another advantage of the exclusive FlexDoors is that they make it easy to enter and exit without twisting or sliding, even in tight spaces, and are therefore easy on the back. Sturdy grab handles right and left on the B-pillar that are intuitively used make it easier to move inside. The higher seating position of driver and co-driver enables better all-round visibility.


Ergonomics and flexibility – this is how interior concepts work today

 Plenty of room: Opel Meriva front seats offer a class-leading range of adjustment – 240 mm forwards/backwards and 65 mm in height.
The FlexSpace system which is standard in the Opel Meriva MPV makes it possible to transform the interior quickly and smoothly from a five into a two-seater. The seats do not need to be cumbersomely dismounted. The standard Opel Meriva front seats offer a class-leading range of adjustment – 240 mm forwards/backwards and 65 mm in height, making it possible for people of all shapes and sizes to find the most comfortable and appropriate seating position. In addition, optional fully adjustable ergonomic seats certified by AGR and featuring additional tilting, extra lumbar support, thigh extension and four-way adjustable head-rests are also available. For more comfort on cold days, the new Meriva offers multi-stage seat heating and is the only car in its class with a heated steering wheel. So the driver does not need to wear gloves, which in turn increases safety.

Heightened comfort is further ensured through a pre-installed Park Assist for ease of parking with detection in both the rear and front or front only. In the new Meriva, a rear-view camera is now available which displays any parking hazards on the 7-inch monitor of the IntelliLink infotainment system. This gives the Meriva driver excellent visibility to the rear without having to twist and turn his/her back.

The optional halogen curve and cornering light with LED daytime running lights that adapt to the road and make turning at crossings safer ensures both optimum visibility for the driver as well as of the car for other traffic users.

For increased load requirements, a maximum storage volume of 1,500 liters with a flat loading area is available. In addition, the Meriva features another clever transport solution: the back-friendly FlexFix bicycle carrier recommended by the AGR. Opel’s innovative FlexFix rear bike carrier system can carry two bikes with a maximum load of 40 kg. FlexFix is always on board the Meriva, integrated in the rear bumper, where it easily slides in and out like a drawer.

New generation IntelliLink infotainment system

New Opel Meriva boasts a new generation IntelliLink infotainment system enabling seamless smartphone integration into the vehicle. The large, high-definition, seven-inch color monitor offers a new interface with IntelliLink graphics that make the system easier to read and operation faster and more fluid. The system features Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming, and additional connectivity via USB. Fast and precise navigation is embedded in the optional systems Navi 650 and Navi 950 IntelliLink. Destinations can be entered easily via voice command using rapid ‘one shot entry’ (request navigation and just speak out the address in a single phrase) while keeping both hands on the steering wheel.

Bestselling Opel with wide powertrain spectrum

New Opel Meriva MPV comes with a new range of gasoline, LPG and diesel powertrains. The highlight is the new generation 1.6 CDTI diesel engine that impresses with its low consumption and environmental friendliness as well as outstanding running smoothness and exceptionally low noise generation. With CO2 emissions of just 99 grams per kilometer, the Meriva will undercut the 100 g mark in the future and offer the best combination of comfort and efficiency.

The new low-friction manual transmission units offer a new level of gear-change comfort in combination with all gasoline, LPG and diesel engines. In addition, a six-speed low-friction transmission that further increases comfort is now available with both 88 kW/120 hp and 103 kW/140 hp versions of the 1.4 Turbo gasoline engine as well as with the 81 kW/110 hp Turbo diesel unit.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

!NEW! Opel extends engagement for Formula Student

  • Four teams supported by Opel get an Ampera as team car for the racing season
  • Team Fast Forest from Hochschule Deggendorf joins the Opel family

Engagement for the Formula Student international racing competition: The Opel board members Mike Ableson, Vice President Engineering, and Johan Willems, Vice President Communications, handed over four Opel Ampera to the teams supported by Opel
Opel extends its engagement for the Formula Student international racing competition. The Opel board members Mike Ableson, Vice President Engineering, and Johan Willems, Vice President Communications, handed over four Opel Ampera to the teams supported by Opel. Each car proudly carries the individual logo of the team and the university. Opel also announced that it welcomes Fast Forest team from Deggendorf University as new member of the Opel Formula Student family.

Mike Ableson explained the importance of the Opel engagement: “Support for Formula Student teams is an investment in our own future. The students experience similar engineering and manufacturing challenges like in real automotive business. It challenges the team members to go the extra step in their education by considering production and manufacture as well as the economic aspects of the automotive industry. It’s a complete engineering development lifecycle that has to be covered over just one racing season!”

The idea of the Formula Student competition is that the teams take on the assumption that they are a manufacturer developing a prototype to be evaluated for production. The racecar must show very good driving characteristics such as acceleration, braking and handling. It should be offered at a very reasonable cost and be reliable and durable. The German SAE association (Verein Deutscher Ingenieure, VDI) is patron of the Formula Student competition in Germany.

Ableson also talked about the kind of support Opel is offering to the teams: ”Opel supports each team according to the particular philosophy of the team. The support varies from manufacturing of parts and components, use of the test tracks at the Opel Test Center Rodgau-Dudenhofen and comprehensive engineering advice, to public and media events, with the teams as brilliant and congenial brand ambassadors.”

The Opel teams demonstrated real team spirit when the Fast Forest team from Deggendorf was hit by the catastrophic flood last year. Together with Opel they helped to enable the Deggendorf team participate in the central event in Hockenheim. Inspired by that Fast Forest achieved one of their best performances ever.

As a team-car the Opel Ampera not only fits best with the Formula Student e-racing intention, but also provides practical advantages for the teams regarding daily operations: most of the time the car will be driven in battery mode. In addition the range extender technology also allows longer distance drives to the Formula Student events in Europe like Silverstone and Hockenheim and further events in Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic and Italy. Support for Formula Student teams is a worldwide initiative of General Motors. It’s a long lasting tradition that US-Teams supported by General Motors like MRacing from the Michigan University (Ann Arbor) participating in the central German racing event in Hockenheim are hosted by the Opel teams. The Hockenheim event will take place from July 29 to August 3.

The teams supported by Opel are:

TU DART Racing (Darmstadt Technical University)              dart-racing.de
Scuderia Mensa (University Rhein-Main)                               scuderia-mensa.de
HAWKS Racing (Hamburg University)                                  hawksracing.de
Fast Forest (Deggendorf University)                                      fast-forest.de

Thursday, 15 May 2014

!NEW! VAUXHALL LAYS THE FOUNDATIONS FOR TRAINEE SURVEYORS

Vauxhall Insignia fleet for Trainee Surveyor Programme: 2.0 CDTi 140PS engine and ecoFLEX technology
Countrywide Surveying Services has taken delivery of the 90 Vauxhall Insignias for new entrants of its Trainee Surveyor Programme.

Powered by a 2.0 CDTi 140PS engine that uses Vauxhall’s award-winning ecoFLEX technology, the Insignias, in Design trim, achieve an impressive combined fuel consumption of 76.3mpg and have CO2 emissions of just 98g/km, achieving low whole-life costs and low benefit-in-kind taxation for company car drivers.

As part of Countrywide plc’s new Trainee Surveyor Programme – which was met with high-demand from property professionals looking to develop a career in residential surveying – trainee surveyors will drive a new Insignia as part of a generous benefits package.

“We were delighted to secure the new Vauxhall Insignia to help us underpin our benefits package and help to attract the best quality candidates in the market. Vauxhall and the Insignia has formed the cornerstone of Countrywide Surveying Services’ Car Fleet for many years and it’s a real pleasure to extend this valued relationship into the next generation of Surveyors,” said Paul Chapman, Managing Director of Countrywide Surveying Services.    

“We wish all of Countrywide’s Trainees success as they embark on the new chapter of their careers, with these new Insignias providing them with a sophisticated, reliable and economical set of wheels with brilliant benefit-in-kind tax advantages over many of its rivals,” said James Taylor, Fleet Sales Director, Vauxhall Motors.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

!NEW! Opel and UR:BAN: Making urban driving safer and more efficient

  • Cognitive assistance systems increase safety
  • Networking of vehicles and infrastructure in urban traffic
  • Urban-appropriate human-machine interaction

Smart intersection: Car-to-X information about the phasing of traffic lights and the traffic situation, sent to the car via Wi-Fi from the traffic management infrastructure and other vehicles, can help to generate recommendations for driving at intersections. Communicated to the driver via an intuitive human-machine-interface, this information can enable the driver to approach and cross the intersection comfortably, safely and energy-efficiently, preferably without stopping.
Driving a car in towns or cities means a coexistence of various road users and means of transport. It also means coping with a complex traffic situation and a high density of activities.

Expert teams at Opel developing innovative assistance systems to increase efficiency and safety in urban transport are participating in the UR:BAN research project (user oriented assistance systems and network management). The goal of the partly German government funded project is to provide drivers of passenger cars and commercial vehicles with forward-looking support, tailored and customized to driving in urban traffic. Thirty-one partners from the automotive industry, electronics and software companies, together with research institutes and local authorities, are developing intelligent assistance and cooperative traffic management systems.

The results and findings obtained so far were delivered today in the UR:BAN mid-term presentation at the Deutsche Zentrum für Luft - und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR – German Center for Air and Space Travel) in Braunschweig, Germany.

The on-going, until 2016, UR:BAN research project, is divided into three pillars: "Cognitive Assistance", "Networked Traffic System", and "Human Factors in Traffic". "Opel is a partner in all three project pillars", explains Michael F. Ableson, Member of the Management Board and GM Europe Vice President, Engineering. "The focus is always on the human being. Teams of engineers, physicists and traffic psychologists are exploring assistance in difficult situations, the intelligent networking of vehicles and infrastructure, driver behavior, and the appropriate human-machine interaction for urban driving."

Cognitive Assistance - Collision avoidance by evading and braking

Especially in urban traffic, difficult situations can occur where the driver may not react in time. This is where the sub-project "collision avoidance by steering and braking" comes in. The Opel team is developing an advanced driver assistance system that takes advantage of the extra road space created by steering intervention to implement an additional situation-specific evasion. This system should help avoid collisions with vehicles and pedestrians in inner-city traffic.

At the mid-term presentation, Opel will show a demonstration vehicle equipped with advanced camera and radar, complemented by modified braking and steering systems, which allow an intervention in the control over the vehicle. Consideration of the driver’s reaction represents an important criterion for the optimization of the intervention strategy. In addition, Opel will integrate the latest findings of human-machine interaction and driver intention detection in the demonstration vehicle.

Networked Traffic System - Smart intersection

Information sent to the vehicle via Wi-Fi from the traffic management infrastructure and other vehicles can help to generate recommendations for driving at intersections, which an intuitive Human-Machine-Interaction  (HMI) can communicate to the driver. This could enable the driver to approach the intersection comfortably, safely and energy efficiently and preferably cross without stopping. This optimization and the further development of car-to-X technology specifically for driving in an urban environment is presented within the framework of UR:BAN.

HMI display in Opel Insignia - Optimized speed for approach he intersection comfortably, safely and energy efficiently and preferably cross without stopping.
In this part of the project, Opel is building on many years of experience in the field of car-to-X communication, as shown in projects such as the successfully completed SIM-TD field test. A networked traffic system and cooperative driving will enable the future step from the mere exchange of information to the joint action of all relevant actors.

Human Factors in Traffic – The appropriate HMI for urban driving

Within UR:BAN, an Opel team is working on improving technical systems. However, the information gained by the new technical systems can only improve driving and safety when drivers also know how to deal with the newly won information and how to react correctly. The focus of the sub-project “Human-Machine Interaction” (HMI) therefore is the way humans experience the behavior of driver assistance systems. In the foreground is interdisciplinary teamwork, with psychologists, engineers and physicists collaborating on the development and implementation of new technology elements to communicate with the driver.

Important questions addressed here include what information content do drivers need in order to follow a driving strategy; or what forms of representation motivate drivers to use a system; and how to avoid driver distraction. The experts test the influence of the assistance systems in various simulators and in real traffic, under controlled conditions.



The evaluation of the objective and subjective data provides the basis for the evaluation of system design and layout. Assistance systems that optimally support the user in his driving behavior are then integrated, in close cooperation with the other sub-projects.

Human Factors in Traffic - Behavior prediction and intention recognition

Understanding driver behavior can help to optimize the warning strategy of the man-machine interface of assistance systems. Opel’s target in the sub-project "behavior prediction and intention recognition" is therefore to develop an algorithm to detect driver intention using standard vehicle sensors. This allows a prediction of driver behavior in difficult driving situations.

The algorithm should identify, at an early stage, future avoidance maneuvers or emergency braking situations. Extensive testing and test data records show that, before maneuvers begin, specific behavior patterns and characteristics in the transverse and longitudinal guidance of the vehicle show up with all drivers. More than 50 volunteers completed a specific drive route under controlled conditions, where they encountered unexpected situations and the resultant maneuvers.

Based on the tests, the Opel team expects to predict whether the driver can mitigate an emergency situation through steering or braking. This information can help to adapt appropriate warning and intervention strategies beneficial for the sub-project "collision avoidance by evading and braking". If the system detects that the driver alone can mitigate a difficult situation, it can delay or suppress a driver warning.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

!NEW! Opel at the RETTmobil 2014 New Vivaro, Movano and Insignia

  • Insignia Country Tourer: Emergency medical/fire brigade command vehicles
  • Movano: Fire-fighting vehicle with portable fire pump and disabled transport vehicle
  • New Vivaro: Panel van with blue light bar as basis for emergency services use
  • Opel rescue data sheets: Online access to vital vehicle information 

Double eye-catcher at the RETTmobil 2014: Opel Insignia Country Tourer as an emergency medical vehicle and a command vehicle for the fire brigade.

Opel Insignia Country Tourer again shows just how versatile it is as a double eye-catcher at the RETTmobil 2014 in the form of an emergency medical vehicle and a command vehicle for the fire brigade. Opel presents the flexibility of its models at the leading European trade show for rescue and mobility in Fulda from May 14 to 16. Next to the Insignia Country Tourer, the new Vivaro will also be on display, modified for the first time with a blue light bar for emergency applications. The Movano is available as a disabled transport vehicle and as a portable fire pump vehicle for the fire department.

Opel Insignia Country Tourer as an emergency medical vehicle and a command vehicle for the fire brigade.
The special use vehicles are built in collaboration with the company’s subsidiary Opel Special Vehicles GmbH (OSV) and certified conversion partners. Company experts are available on all three days of the exhibition to answer questions on individual special equipment and retrofitting options at the Opel stand 505 in Hall 5.

Made by OSV: Insignia Country Tourer as ambulance and firefighting vehicle

Opel Special Vehicles GmbH is responsible for converting the Opel Insignia Country Tourer into an attention-getting emergency medical vehicle. The all-wheel drive vehicles equipped with the powerful BiTurbo diesel engine can quickly and securely get to emergency sites. The vehicle livery in luminous bright red, the blue lettering "AMBULANCE" on the front doors and the hood, two LED front flashing lights as well as two rear warning lights and the retroreflective rear hazard markers clearly identify the flexible station wagon as a special model. In the interior, equipment includes the 230-volt electrical system, ignition override unit, preliminary setup for analog and digital radio as well as accident data storage. Various versions of the special priority vehicle signaling system are available.

Made by OSV: Opel Special Vehicles GmbH is responsible for converting the Opel Insignia Country Tourer into an attention-getting emergency medical vehicle.
But the Opel Insignia Country Tourer is not only ideally equipped for use as an emergency medical vehicle – it also meets all the requirements for use as a fire brigade command vehicle. Visitors to the trade show can view it at the Sortimo International GmbH stand (Hall B, Stand 1906). The red-white-yellow livery and the "FIRE BRIGADE" lettering on the hood and side doors, the prominently displayed emergency number 112, as well as the priority vehicle signaling system on the roof are all visible from afar. The attention-grabbing vehicle design of the two Insignia Country Tourer versions is from the specialized lettering company design 112.

Versatile Opel Insignia Country Tourer: It also meets all the requirements for use as a fire brigade command vehicle.

Coachbuilder variants: New Vivaro and Movano special use vehicles

The new Opel Vivaro is not only suitable for the most diverse transport tasks, it also forms the optimum basis for special use and emergency vehicles. The magma red, all-purpose Opel bestseller shows this in Fulda for the first time in a modified form with blue light bar.

The Opel Movano is distinguished by the same qualities. The company Oberaigner has given the versatile Opel van high-performance, on-demand four-wheel drive that can be activated by simply pushing a button via a panel in the cockpit. The Movano thus offers excellent driving performance even with a heavy payload and is predestined for use in rescue services. A Movano converted to a portable fire pump vehicle by BTG Brandschutztechnik Görlitz GmbH will also be on exhibit at the Opel stand at the RETTmobil. The box body accommodates the special use and emergency equipment. The vehicle also has exterior mirrors with extended arms, step protection at the doors as well as a comfort seat for the driver.

Red thunderbolt: A Movano converted to a portable fire pump vehicle by BTG Brandschutztechnik Görlitz GmbH will also be on exhibit at the Opel stand at the RETTmobil.
The Movano Trabus L3 converted to a disabled transport vehicle by the firm Ambulanz Mobile will also be on show in Fulda. Its equipment includes a linear lift, steps and individual seats. With a seat rail system the Movano offers ample space for up to six large wheelchairs.

Opel rescue data sheets: Vital information at your fingertips

In the event of an accident, it is not only important that rescue services quickly arrive at the scene, but also that they have immediate access to the vehicle information of the car involved. This happens quite simply at the touch of a button: using a normal Smartphone, the information can be called up from around 2,200 rescue data sheets available on the Internet in 25 languages for 87 Opel models from model year 1991 at www.opel-rescuecard.com. Further information, for example on electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles or on the subject of "Accident aid and recovery of high-voltage vehicles" is available on the Opel website www.ifz-berlin.de.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

!NEW! General Motors Sells April Record 278,263 Vehicles in China

Vehicle sales by General Motors and its joint ventures in China increased 6.3 percent on an annual basis last month to an April record 278,263 units.


Shanghai GM and SAIC-GM-Wuling, as well as their Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Wuling brands, all reached new highs for April sales.

Its strong performance took GM’s sales for the first four months of 2014 to a record 1,197,375 units, an increase of 11.0 percent on an annual basis. This is the eighth consecutive year and the earliest ever that GM has sold more than a million vehicles in a calendar year in China.

Shanghai GM’s domestic sales in April were up 5.8 percent year on year to 128,608 units, SAIC-GM-Wuling’s sales in China were up 7.4 percent to 144,729 units and FAW-GM’s sales in the domestic market were down 3.9 percent to 4,926 units.

Buick sales in the domestic market totaled 68,707 units in April, which was an increase of 2.7 percent on an annual basis. The original Excelle family had sales of 24,092 units, while sales of the Excelle XT and GT totaled 18,253 units. They were followed by the Regal, which sold 8,126 units, and the GL8, which sold 6,403 units.

Chevrolet sales in China rose 6.4 percent from the previous April to 53,810 units. Its best-selling model was the Cruze, whose sales increased 16.0 percent to 20,036 units. Following the Cruze was the Sail, which had sales of 16,598 units, an increase of 7.7 percent.

Cadillac sales were up 49.4 percent from last April to 6,091 units. It benefited from strong demand of 2,678 units for the XTS luxury sedan and 2,405 units for the SRX luxury utility vehicle.

Wuling sales in China rose 11.2 percent on an annual basis in April to 138,524 units. The Hong Guang family sold more than 60,000 units, which was an increase of 92.3 percent year on year.

Between January and April 2014, Shanghai GM had domestic sales growth of 9.3 percent to 550,430 units. SAIC-GM-Wuling generated domestic sales growth of 13.2 percent to 624,740 units. Both were new highs for the period. FAW-GM’s local sales were up 1.1 percent to 21,893 units.

In addition, during the first four months of 2014, Buick sales rose 11.2 percent year on year to 306,801 units, Chevrolet sales were up 2.8 percent to 222,181 units, Cadillac sales jumped 85.4 percent to 21,448 units, Wuling sales grew 14.9 percent to 599,157 units and Baojun sales were down 15.7 percent to 25,583 units.

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. 

Monday, 5 May 2014

!NEW! Pioneering climate friendliness: 25 years of catalytic converters at Opel

  • Opel first European manufacturer to install catalysts on entire range as standard
  • Commitment to environmental leadership, emissions lowered by over 90% in 25 years
  • Never so clean: Converters today complemented by more efficient powertrains

Catalytic converter technology 
When Louis R. Hughes took over at the helm of Opel in April 1989 – 25 years ago this month – he was faced with a myriad of tasks, but his attention immediately turned to catalytic converters. His first decision also became a first for any volume European manufacturer: the entire Opel gasoline range would be fitted with catalytic converters as standard.

The measuring procedure: On the exhaust test rig, the engineers at the Technical Development Center investigate exhaust emissions from various engine concepts. The closed-loop catalytic converter reduces pollutants to about one- tenth of the previous amount. 
By mid-1989, 19 of every 20 gasoline-powered Opels sold had a converter installed as standard, proving that Hughes’ decision, spurred by environmental concerns and tax incentives, and not a little business acumen, was timely.

Catalytic converter for everyone: From 1989 on, the Opel bestsellers Corsa and Kadett also featured a catalytic converter as standard

Today, emissions have been reduced drastically – to less than 10 percent of pre-catalytic converter levels – and Opel is committed to lowering them even further: “We are at the forefront of developing environmentally friendly technology to reduce the carbon footprint of our automobiles. This is not only being done through constantly improving our catalytic converter technology, but also by developing clean and efficient engines,” says Michael F. Ableson, Vice President GME Engineering. “Between 2013 and the end of 2016, Opel will bring in three fully new engine families and 13 new variants including numerous frugal derivatives with even lower emissions. Additionally, the company is proactively rolling out products that go over and above compliance with legal requirements.”

The rationale behind the decision

Andreas Dindorf, Engineering Group Manager, Product Regulations, explains why the decision was taken to install catalytic converters as standard in 1989: “Cars equipped with converters were environmentally friendly and customers benefited from tax breaks. Additionally, since we are part of General Motors, we leveraged the know-how and technologies used for the U.S. – which required converters – and therefore were better prepared to take the plunge.”

As early as 1984, Opel was working on the project and was the first volume manufacturer in Europe to introduce a European-made catalytic converter on a 1.8 liter Opel Ascona made for the German Police and handed over on December 7 that same year.

First volume manufacturer in Europe with a European-made catalytic converter: The first car featuring this, a 1.8-liter Opel Ascona made for the German Police, was delivered on December 7, 1984.
This was more than a PR stunt. By the end of 1984, Opel had committed 1,000 employees to work on catalytic converters and invested a staggering DM1 billion, more than €500 million. Previously, modified U.S. converters were imported into Europe. GM, Opel’s parent company, was the biggest manufacturer of converters at the time.

A step ahead – from Euro 0 to Euro 6

“We have made evolutionary steps in the way converters are designed to ensure maximum environmental protection,” said Staff Engineer, Engine Management Systems (EMS) Components, Roland Maucher. “Diagnostics have also improved considerably and today sensors are placed on either side of the converter to ensure the system is functioning properly. Another significant change was to integrate the converter with the exhaust manifold, making it far more efficient. Opel is committed to environmental leadership.”

Green fleet: From 1989 on, Opel introduced the catalytic converter in all gas-driven models as standard
Environmental awareness started gaining traction in the 1980s, leading car manufacturers, such as Opel, to take a decision that has since prevented billions of tons of pollutant gases from entering the atmosphere. Converters were made obligatory in the EU in 1992. The reduction in emissions from the initial Euro 0 level to Euro 6 is staggering.

Strong and clean sports coupé: The Opel Calibra built from late 1989 was also equipped with a catalytic converter as standard
“Emissions regulations started being introduced in the 1970s, but the biggest impact was felt in 1992 when Euro 1 became effective. At that time, having a catalytic converter was not obligatory and depended on various factors,” he says.

Diesel offensive: The particulate converters are coming

Diesel offensive with particulate converters: In 2005 Opel introduced particulate filters for diesel-powered cars across the range, cutting particulate emissions to almost zero. This was done four years earlier than the 2009 Euro 5 requirements.
Euro 4 became mandatory in 2005, the same year Opel introduced particulate filters for diesel-powered cars across the range, cutting particulate emissions to almost zero. This was done four years earlier than the 2009 Euro 5 requirements. Opel has begun production of two new systems – the Lean Nox Trap (LNT) and the AdBlue Selective Catalyst Reduction (SCR) system, both of which reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) from exhaust gases. The results have been staggering: Effectively, the emissions of one diesel-powered car in 1992 is equivalent to 140 diesel cars in 2014.

“This year, Euro 6 standards become effective on new models and provide for further incremental reductions. With Euro 6, emission limits for diesel and petrol cars will be similarly tough. The focus of regulations is clearly shifting towards more stringent testing and tighter diagnostics requirements. We are now entering a new phase,” Dindorf says. “It’s no longer the case of whether cars are clean or dirty – they are all relatively speaking clean, and being made cleaner.”

The future will bring even further tightening through a new testing protocol. “We now expect a new test cycle, the World Light-duty Test Procedure, to be introduced. Additionally, we will eventually see the start of additional testing requirements on Real Driving Emissions (RDE), whereby mobile equipment will be used on cars on the road to check emission standards” Dindorf explains.

More efficient powertrains

“It is not only a matter of dealing with exhaust gases after they leave the engine “ says Dr Maucher, “but also reducing the amount of gases produced by the engine in the first place. Improved efficiency reduces so-called ‘engine-out’ emissions, so our engineers are putting a great deal of effort into making the combustion better and more effective.”

Between 2013 and 2016, Opel is renewing 80 percent of its engine portfolio, with three new engine families and 13 derivatives. This includes new families of powerful yet frugal 1.6 liter gasoline and diesel engines with lower CO2 emissions. Additionally, a new standard-setting 1.0 liter three-cylinder gasoline engine will be introduced this summer.

The new generation four-cylinder 1.6 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo gasoline engine is focused on optimized fuel economy, high low-end torque and outstanding elasticity. Compared to Opel’s previous 1.6 liter turbo engine, CO2 emissions and fuel consumption are 13 percent lower, while peak power and torque are up to 30 percent higher. The new Cascada mid-size convertible was the first Opel model available with this new engine, which now also powers the Astra, Astra GTC, and Zafira Tourer.

Opel ECOTEC 1.6 Direct Injection Turbo - New gasoline engine

Opel’s all-new 1.6 CDTI Turbo diesel engine delivers class-leading performance across all key engine parameters. It was launched in the Zafira Tourer and is now already available in the Meriva and Astra. Both Opel’s BlueInjection Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system in the Zafira Tourer and Lean Nox Trap (LNT) technology in the Meriva and Astra are Euro 6 compliant, making the 1.6 CDTI as clean as a gasoline.

All-new Opel ECOTEC 1.6 CDTI - Euro 6 Turbo diesel engine
The new ADAM ROCKS and the ADAM will be the first Opel models to feature the new generation 1.0 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo three-cylinder gasoline engine. This “pocket-powerhouse” already complies with Euro 6 emission standards and raises the bar for three-cylinder engine refinement.

Opel ECOTEC 1.0 Direct Injection Turbo - Three-cylinder gasoline engine

Thursday, 1 May 2014

!NEW! Holden Cascada Convertible to Debut in Australia and New Zealand in 2015; Joined by Astra and Insignia


Holden’s ongoing commitment to sourcing the best vehicles from around the world took an important step forward today with the announcement that three European-sourced vehicles will join Holden’s line-up in the first half of 2015. 

Cascada convertible for Australia: It offers Holden a compelling entrant into a new segment for the company

Holden Cascada Interior 
The sleek Cascada convertible will come to Australia for the first time, joined by the Astra GTC and VXR three-door hatches and the sophisticated Insignia VXR performance sedan. 

For the fast lane: The Insignia sedan will also be sold as the top-of-the line VXR model
General Motors Executive Vice President and President, GM International Operations (GMIO) Stefan Jacoby joined Holden Chairman and Managing Director Gerry Dorizas at a press conference at Holden HQ at Fishermans Bend today to make the announcement. 

 Insignia VXR performance sedan - Interior 
Mr. Jacoby said the announcement of these European-sourced models joining Holden’s portfolio demonstrated that the company would continue to bring the best possible products from GM’s product portfolio to Australian customers to support a strong future for Holden. 

“Holden is one of the strongest brands in Australia and the introduction of the Astra, Cascada and Insignia to the portfolio in 2015 will be a great addition,” Mr Jacoby said.

Sleek and sporty: Holden Astra VXR and Holden Cascada Convertible
“We are determined to offer Australian and New Zealand customers the best possible products that we can source from our global operations, as we build a strong future for Holden.

“GM is dedicated to building strong brands that connect with our customers. Holden and GM are undergoing a transformation that is committed to driving our markets toward success.

“We are focussed on the long-term fundamentals, such as ensuring Holden retains its proud Australian identity and provides customers with the best possible cars.

Holden Astra VXR and Holden Cascada Convertible
“It’s critical we focus on consumer and market-driven product strategies that enable global scale while engaging customers at a local-market level. The Astra, Cascada and Insignia are proof positive of our strategy.”  

Coming to Australia and New Zealand: Holden Astra VXR, Insignia and Cascada convertible
Mr. Dorizas said the commitment to performance and quality evident in the three Europe-sourced models aligned with Holden’s heritage and brand.

“Astra, Cascada and Insigina will be niche vehicles in terms of volume for our company, and their performance credentials and premium execution are a perfect match for Holden and will provide yet more fantastic choice for our customers,” Mr. Dorizas said.

“We are building a strong future for Holden by focusing on our customers, our dealers, our employees and our products.”


Specifications:

Holden Astra GTC
3-door hatch
1.6 L turbo petrol engine 
6-speed manual and automatic transmission
Front-wheel drive 
On-sale first half 2015 
Holden Astra VXR
3-door hatch
2.0 L turbo petrol engine 
6-speed manual transmission
Front-wheel drive 
On-sale first half 2015 

Holden Cascada
2-door convertible 
1.6 L turbo petrol engine 
6-speed manual and automatic transmission
Front-wheel drive 
On-sale first half 2015 
Holden Insignia VXR
4-door sedan 
2.8 L Turbo V6 engine 
6-speed automatic transmission 
All-wheel drive 
On-sale first half 2015