Thursday, 20 November 2014

!NEW! Opel/Vauxhall to Produce Second Flagship in Rüsselsheim and to Invest in New Engine and Transmission Production

  • GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra announces production of New SUV in  Rüsselsheim
  • Considerable investments in engine and transmission production in the Rüsselsheim, Kaiserslautern and Tychy plants
  • Third shift at the Eisenach plant will be added next year
  • Clear commitment to Opel/Vauxhall, Germany and Europe

Opel Group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann and GM CEO Mary Barra in front of the new Corsa E.  Barra announces production of a new SUV in Rüsselsheim.
During her second visit to Germany this year, Mary Barra, Chief Executive Officer of General Motors, announced additional considerable investments. Barra confirmed that new model will be produced at Opel’s traditional headquarters in Rüsselsheim by the end of the decade. “This SUV will be the brand’s second flagship alongside the Insignia,” Barra said. As announced in March, 245 million euro will be invested in Opel’s Rüsselsheim plant to meet future requirements. Furthermore, Barra declared additional investments of more than half billion euro in the engine and transmission plants in Rüsselsheim, Kaiserslautern and Tychy (Poland), thus providing the impetus for Opel to move to the next stage of its powertrain offensive with fuel efficient engines and transmissions.

Opel Insignia - Current flagship model
“Opel/Vauxhall is of high strategic importance for GM. The product offensive with 27 new models and 17 new engines has enjoyed a very successful start. These additional investments will help the brand shine again and further strengthen our position in Europe. They are a clear sign of GM’s commitment to Opel, to Germany and to Europe,” said Barra.

Opel Group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann and GM CEO Mary Barra 
Opel Group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann was delighted by the clear message: “General Motors and Opel/Vauxhall are closer than ever before.” He continued to explain that Opel/Vauxhall  has General Motor’s full support. “The additional investments are further proof of the excellent cooperation.”

Both, Mary Barra and Dr. Neumann, pointed out that all necessary decisions were taken after a constructive dialog with employee representatives. They recognized the cooperation with the European employee representatives, the Industrial Metal Union (IG Metall) and Opel’s general works council, chaired by Wolfgang Schäfer-Klug.

Wolfgang Schäfer-Klug: "The package of measures is based on existing collective labor agreement commitments. The agreement is an important prerequisite for the continuation of Opel’s ride in the fast lane. It helps to continue our growth course with safe and competitive jobs."

Dr. Neumann also announced that a third shift will be established at the plant in Eisenach as of mid 2015. “This is good news for Eisenach as we are enjoying strong demand for the Opel/Vauxhall ADAM and the new Corsa  E.”

Opel ADAM 
Mary Barra expressed her delight with the new Corsa E, adding that 45,000 orders before the official market launch show that the fifth generation of the small car is well on its way to becoming a bestseller.

!NEW! Charlie Klein and Carsten Wreth to strengthen Opel Group Top Management Team

The Opel Group continues to strengthen its top management team. Effective January 1, 2015, Charlie Klein (54) currently Executive Chief Engineer, Vans, Light Commercial Vehicles and Alliance Programs, is appointed Vice President Vehicle Engineering, Europe. Charlie Klein will replace Mike Ableson who is moving back to the US and will become Vice President of Global Product Planning and Program Management at General Motors. Charlie Klein will report to Ken Kelzer, Vice President, Global Vehicle Components and Subsystems and to Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, GM Executive Vice President and Head of the Opel Group. He will also replace Mike Ableson as a Member of the Board for Adam Opel AG.

Charlie Klein, Vice President Vehicle Engineering Europe
Dr. Neumann: “We welcome Charlie Klein to the Opel Group top management team. He has been in charge of successful alliance projects with Renault and PSA in recent years, and we believe he is the right person to lead the more than 6,000 engineers at the International Technical Development Center (ITDC) in Rüsselsheim. At the same time, I would like to thank Mike Ableson who put his stamp on the engineering work here in a relatively short time and played a significant role in the ongoing Opel/Vauxhall product offensive.”

To further support Opel’s comeback, effective January 1, 2015, Carsten Wreth (49) will join the company in a newly created position as Vice President, Customer Experience Europe. Wreth comes from Telefonica Global Services and will report to Peter Küspert, Vice President Sales & Aftersales and member of the Board, Opel Group.

Carsten Wreth, Vice President Customer Experience Europe
Küspert: “Carsten brings in 15 years of experience of putting the customer at the heart of everything the company does. He will play a pivotal role in making our organization even more customer focused.”

Carsten Wreth was born in 1965 and has a degree in Business Administration and Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kaiserslautern, Germany. 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

!NEW! Opel ADAM S: Spicy Sports Star Available for Order from €18,690

  • Powerful: 1.4-liter Turbo with 110 kW/150 hp and 220 Nm
  • Athletic: Exceptional sprinter qualities and economical consumption
  • Tailor-made: Performance chassis and brakes
  • Trendy: Numerous individualization options also available for Opel ADAM S

The order books for the new sporty head of the Opel ADAM family are now open – From early next year, the ADAM S will not only be on show at Opel dealers but also available for purchase. Available from euro 18,690 (RRP including VAT in Germany), the compact powerhouse is in its element on the road and is eager to show a standard feature: Pure driving fun!

New Opel ADAM S is the powerful top-of-the-range member of the ADAM family
“Opel ADAM S is the powerful top of the range version of our Opel ADAM family,” explained Jürgen Keller, Executive Director Sales, Marketing & Aftersales Germany. “150 hp and 220 Nm torque are already promising credentials; in combination with the easy handling, precise steering and the exceptional brakes we have all the attributes of a true sportsman. Opel ADAM S is made for winding mountainous roads – every switchback is pure pleasure.”

The performance chassis and the sharp performance steering of the new Opel ADAM S make driving on winding mountainous roads exciting and enjoyable
Elsewhere, there are also numerous individualization possibilities for bodywork, roof and interior that underline the ADAM S’ sporty characteristics and make it a true personalization champion just like its ADAM siblings.

New Opel ADAM S - The rear spoiler creates sufficient downforce

1.4-liter Turbo: Impressive performance and torque

The heart and soul of the new athlete in the Opel ADAM line-up is a 1.4-liter Turbo with 110kW/150 hp and 220 Nm torque on tap in the speed range between 2,750 und 4,500 rpm. The engine is combined with a crisp six-speed transmission with sporty gear ratios, thus ensuring perfect continuity at any speed. In this arrangement, Opel ADAM S accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in only 8.5 seconds. Fifth gear acceleration from 80 to 120 km/h is achieved in 7.9 seconds. Propulsion and aerodynamic drag neutralize each other at 210 km/h.

New Opel ECOTEC 1.4 Turbo - Euro 6 engine with 110 kW/150 hp and 220 Nm
The 1.4-liter Turbo already meets the stringent Euro 6 emission standards and makes do with a mere 5.9 liters of gasoline per 100 kilometers in the combined cycle. The dual cam phasing allows for continuously variable valve timing and a turbocharger integrated within the exhaust manifold reduces weight and delivers compact packaging. Numerous weight-saving features include a cast iron block with a hollow frame structure, hollow-cast camshafts and a plastic intake manifold.

Opel ADAM S: Corner king with sporty design

New Opel ADAM S offers countless individualization possibilities for bodywork, roof and interior
Apart from its motor abilities, the Opel ADAM S likes nothing more than corners. Its preferred terrain is winding country roads where the specially tuned performance chassis and sharp performance steering enhance the driving characteristics. However, the pocket rocket also offers outstanding grip when necessary – tailored performance brakes ensure excellent braking characteristics and a defined pressure point. Red brake calipers can be seen behind the optional 18-inch “Typhoon” design alloy wheels if these are chosen.

New Opel ADAM S - Red brake calipers with the optional 18-inch “Typhoon” design alloy wheels
The front lip spoiler, side sill moldings and an extended rear bumper characterize the bodywork of the muscular sportsman and distinguish it from its ADAM siblings. Elsewhere, the rear spoiler produces and chrome-plated tail pipe complete the sporty look. The overall feeling is completed by sport pedals and optional, ADAM S exclusive, Recaro sport seats (available for euro 1,300).

Monday, 10 November 2014

!NEW! The Reliable Opel: Zafira MPV Cruises to 500,000 km

  • Zafira A MPV clocks 500,000 km in front of the Adam Opel Haus
  • Opel Group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann welcomes owner

Tough call: Opel Zafira driver Andreas Schild (right) and Opel CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann (left) debate whether he should swap his trusty red Opel Zafira for a New Opel Zafira Tourer.
The timing was perfect, the last stretch planned in every detail: When reaching the forecourt of the Adam Opel Haus the speedometer of the Zafira turned over to 500,000 km. After 12 years of loyal service to its owner Andreas Schild from Frankfurt, both the car and the driver received their just reward. Opel Group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann welcomed Schild and his Zafira in front of the Adam Opel Haus.

Perfect timing: Opel Zafira owner Andreas Schild timed his visit to the Adam Opel Haus to perfection, reaching 500,000 km in front of the Opel HQ in Rüsselsheim.
Schild’s Zafira is a 2.2 liter DTi built in 2002 with 125 hp with Selection Executive trim. What makes the car special is that despite reaching half a million kilometers only very few parts, apart from the usual wear parts such as brake disks or brake pads, have been have been changed: the rear muffler, two suspension struts (without the shock absorbers) along with the power steering pump. All other parts are still the originals.

Polished appearance: Andreas Schild had the Opel Zafira washed and polished to ensure that it would truly shine on its big day.
“Apart from being used as business vehicle on a daily basis, the flexible van is also frequently seen on trips to southern Europe to buy wines and Mediterranean delicacies,” said Schild. “Once I loaded 495 wine bottles and I never had the feeling that I was asking too much of the car.”

“Mr. Schild’s Opel Zafira is an example of the core values of our brand: German engineering and precision combined with high user value are essential components of our brand DNA. Current studies such as the J.D. Power Study Germany 2014, in which our Meriva had the highest customer satisfaction in its sector, underline this,” said the Opel CEO. “The idea behind the excellent Flex7 seating system swung my decision when I bought the car. This system is a real piece of engineering ingenuity,” added Schild.

“When did you buy it?”: Opel CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann (right) finds is pleasantly surprised by the fact that Andreas Schild (left) has been using his Opel Zafira on a daily basis for twelve years and has amassed 500,000 km.
The owner of a Frankfurt-based event agency has always been a huge fan of the traditional brand. His first car was a 1965 Record 1900 L that his uncle bought him after he passed his driving test in 1978. He also had other Opels such as a Kadett, an Omega and a further Zafira.

Schild is especially amused by the reaction of his friends and family when he continues to roll up in his flexible seven-seater. They always ask the same question. What ? That car still works ?

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

!NEW! Chevrolet, Opel and Isuzu October Sales Performance in South Africa

The South African motor industry continues to grow despite a turbulent year, with October 2014 new vehicle sales totalling 59 384 units – almost 3 000 units and a 4.7% gain versus the same period in 2014. The recent growth in the overall industry can be attributed to strong direct channel sales whilst sales at dealer level have declined slightly.

In October 2014, General Motors South Africa (GMSA) sales totalled 5 238 units, reflecting market share of 8.8%. Year-to-date GMSA market share is higher than in 2013, at 9.98% and 53 055 units.

The locally-manufactured Chevrolet Spark, Chevrolet Utility and Isuzu KB remain key sales drivers, with 735, 1 445 and 1 181 units retailed respectively. Spark sales have now seen a 30% increase year-to-date in 2014, versus the same period in 2013.

Isuzu volume year-to-date is up 12% compared to 2013, and the Opel brand has realised an exceptional 60% year-to-date increase over the same period in 2013.

Opel Corsa 
Says GMSA Vice President of Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing, Brian Olson: “The locally produced Chevrolet & Isuzu models have been key volume drivers in 2014, performing well on a consistent basis.

“The recent introduction of several special edition models, including the Chevrolet Sonic and Spark Black & White Editions, the Isuzu KB Midnite Edition, and the just released Chevrolet Ute Force Limited Edition, have strengthened brand awareness and sales volume.”

Chevrolet Sonic Black Edition

!NEW! Opel commends business innovation at 2014 BBQ Award

The 13th annual BBQ Awards, hosted at Emperors Palace on Friday 31 October, have recognised black entrepreneurial excellence at a gala awards evening. Sponsoring the New and Innovative Business Award, Opel presented Flavalite Innovations with the prestigious award.

The award, handed over by General Motors South Africa (GMSA) Vice President of Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing, Brian Olson, signifies the most innovative new business established within the last 36 months.

Business requirements in order to qualify for the award include an annual turnover of less than R 4-million, at least 50% black ownership, profitability with an established client base and a tangible commitment to innovation and technological advancement through the development of a product or service. The business should also operate within a competitive industry and demonstrate factors of sustainable economic growth and development, with adherence to good corporate governance and leadership.

Says Opel Brand Manager, Christopher Cradock: “Opel is a brand with deep roots and a rich history in South Africa, and one which is embarking on a brand new era on a global level. With new products like the ADAM and Mokka, along with several others on our horizon, Opel is being reinvigorated with innovative new German products which feature industry-leading and futuristic new technologies. It is this parallel which can be drawn between Opel and the New and Innovative Business Award, and we congratulate its winner enthusiastically.”

Saturday, 1 November 2014

!NEW! Precise and Comfortable: New Opel Corsa E, the Small Car with High Standards

• Newly designed chassis provides more comfort, pleasure and safety 
• New steering with precise feel for the road, City Mode for maneuvers
• From test track to road: Fifth generation Corsa passes toughest tests

Chassis engineers in charge of developing the fifth generation Opel Corsa have set to themselves the objective of delighting future customers with a driving experience comparable to the one provided by larger, more expensive cars in terms of comfort and precision. They have lowered the center of gravity of the new Corsa by 5 millimeters and completely redesigned its chassis and steering systems. 

“The chassis of the new generation Corsa does not inherit a single component from the previous model. We turned every conceivable setscrew to achieve a better drive experience with new levels of comfort, precision and pleasure. At the same time, we concentrated on finding the optimal balance between enjoyable dynamics and predictable, safest road-handling,” said Michael Ableson, Vice-President Vehicle Engineering Europe. 

New Opel Corsa chassis raises the bar for comfort, fun and safety

In addition to its 5 millimeter lower center of gravity, the Corsa receives a new, stiffer, redesigned chassis. The front MacPherson suspension has a new geometry with new front knuckles which improve the vehicle’s roll behavior, steering response and understeer behavior. A new, reinforced sub-frame increases torsional rigidity, while dual strut mounts provide improved responsiveness on uneven surfaces. Furthermore, the new spring rates and damper characteristics in the front reduce the pitching moment during sharp braking maneuvers. This results in the Corsa remaining controllable in case of emergency braking, even for inexperienced drivers. The rear axle torsion bar has been redesigned too, and an enhanced stabilizer has been added to reduce tilting for a better cornering compliance and stability.

Corsa customers can choose between two chassis set-ups, the standard ‘Comfort’ and the more active and direct ‘Sport’. The Comfort chassis is featured with 14 to 16 inch wheels. The Sport chassis has stiffer springs and shock absorbers as well as a specific steering geometry and calibration for a more direct response. It is optional with 16-inch wheels and comes standard on Corsa models equipped with 17-inch wheels.  

New steering system with numerous innovations

In order to improve directional stability, the Opel engineers changed the mounting points of the rack-and-pinion steering shaft and optimized its geometry. A newly constructed mounting for the steering column saves space which is filled with additional padding material and increases driver safety in case of a collision. Furthermore, the steering column possesses special impact absorbers.

The development of a completely new electrical architecture for the fifth generation Corsa enables a more sophisticated level of interaction between its various systems. An optimized software for the electrical and speed-dependent power steering adds additional possibilities. For instance, all new Corsa are equipped with a new standard ‘City’ steering mode that allows reducing steering effort at low speeds for easing maneuvers. The City mode is activated at the press of a button located on the center console.

Furthermore, the active cornering component of the Corsa’s steering aids the driver in crosswinds and on convex roads. Amongst others, the software is fed with the data from the ninth generation Electronic Stability Program (ESPPlus). This system contains no less than eleven different functions, including, for example, the new Hill Start Assist (HSA).

Elsewhere, the fifth generation of the Opel bestseller can be fitted with an Advanced Parking Assistant (€580 including VAT). This system recognizes parallel and perpendicular parking spaces and takes over the steering, meaning that the driver only has to control the pedals.

Well-rounded: Brakes and wheels

The base new Corsa comes with 14-inch steel rims and 185/70 tires. In combination with a turbocharged engine (1.0 Turbo, 1.4 Turbo and 1.3 CDTI), the new Corsa is always fitted with 15-inch or bigger wheels. However, the Opel bestseller can optionally be ordered with 17-inch rims and 215-wide tires. The standard Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TMPS) display warns the driver in the event of excessive pressure loss in one of the tires.

The braking system consists of ventilated front and solid rear discs which can easily cope with high stress. The pedal feel is distinguished by the exactly defined pressure point and excellent controllability. The braking systems is assisted by electronic aids that permanently receive information for the ABS/ESP sensors. For example, the systems recognizes if the braking maneuver is being performed while cornering and distributes the braking force to all four wheels depending on the load. 

A car’s life in high speed: Fifth generation Opel Corsa at the test center 

The engineers in Opel’s Test Center in Dudenhofen have tested the new generation Corsa extensively over thousands of kilometers before allowing it to be presented to the customers. The Opel Development Team pushed the new Corsa to its limits during the tests: the development prototypes had to master 40,000 kilometers on the torture track, the high speed circuit and in hilly terrain, equivalent to 160,000 kilometer on “normal” demanding roads. Within only 24 weeks, these development prototypes are put through burdens that a production car would normally only encounter during its entire life cycle.

The new Corsa was asked to prove its resilience time and time again on the torture track. The track delivers exactly what its name promises: more than 900 meters of potholes, humps, the “washboard“, a cobbled section and a pavé track. It’s a really tough test for the chassis, which will most probably never go through such torture in real life – but the Corsa mastered it comfortably. To put the steering, transmission and brakes to the test, the new Corsa also successfully completed the hill track many thousand times. 

On Dudenhofen’s 40-degree banking circuit without lateral forces engineers can test the stability at high speed. Another circuit that is used during the testing procedure has rising and falling gradients, ranging from eight to 30 percent, with different road surfaces and a serpentine section including hairpin turns – similar to conditions found in alpine mountains. 

The endurance test, which all new Opel models are put through, was decisive for the new generation Corsa. The longest track at the test center offers many different road surfaces including asphalt and cobblestones, bumps and numerous curves. Here engineers test if the performance and quality they fine-tuned and approved in the development vehicles have been successfully transferred to the production vehicles. This final quality control ensures that any minute disturbances or doubts are erased, thus guaranteeing that the new Corsa reaches the customers perfectly aligned with the stringent performance and quality targets set at the beginning of its development.