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Manufacturers / Germany / Opel


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Opel vehicles


1910


8/14
Opel 8/14   (1910)

In 1862, Adam Opel turned his craftsman's business into an industrial concern. The sewing machine and the bicycle were radically new inventions and that was how Opel began - building revolutionary machines.

At the close of the century, another revolutionary machine made its appearance - the car. In 1899, before the 20th century had even begun, Opel had acquired a car factory.

The factory was in the state of Anhalt, Germany, and it belonged to one Friedrich Lutzmann. The Opel brothers (Adam's sons) worked in partnership with Lutzmann for two years while they built up the production of automobiles in Rüsselsheim.

8/20
Opel 8/20  concept (1911)

In 1901, Opel separated from Lutzmann and in 1902 they began producing French Darracq models under licence and selling them under the brand name Opel-Darracq.

At the same time, the Opel brothers were working on their own designs to make cars more reliable and affordable. In the autumn of 1902, their first design, the 10/12 hp model, made its debut at the Hamburg Motor Show.

In order to promote the "motorization of the people" effectively, the company expanded its line of products in 1901 to include motorcycles. The first Opel trucks were being produced as early as 1899.

Rennwagen
Opel Rennwagen  concept (1913)

As successes in the following years proved, the young automobile company was on the right track. By 1906, these newcomers on the automobile market had already built their one-thousandth vehicle, and their business was developing fast.

The big breakthrough occurred in the year 1909 with the Opel 4/8 hp model - known as the "Doctor's Car". Its reliability and robustness were appreciated above all by physicians, who did a lot of cross-country driving back then when they made their calls, since hard-surfaced roads were still something of a rarity at the beginning of the century.

At 3,950 marks, the legendary "Doctor's Car" cost just half as much as the luxury models of its day. Only ten years into the industry and nine years into the new century, Opel had already taken a giant step towards providing wide sections of the public with access to motor vehicles.

Record
Opel Record  concept (1913)

The success of this model, combined with their groundbreaking production systems, meant that by 1914 Opel had outstripped its competitors and become the largest German manufacturer of motor vehicles.


1920


8/40
Opel 8/40  concept (1928)

In 1924, with an investment of one million gold marks, Opel introduced assembly-line mass production to Germany. This revolutionary production process brought substantial advantages for Opel customers.

The first model to roll off the new assembly lines was the "Laubfrosch" or "Tree Frog" (Opel 4/12 hp). Thanks to the drop in manufacturing costs made possible by the increased production volume and the enormous demand, the already moderate introductory price was reduced from 4,500 to only 1,990 marks within six years.

Despite the general inflation, Opel had made yet another contribution towards making cars affordable. The automobile was no longer an expensive and fragile luxury item for the wealthy; it was on the way to becoming a trouble-free, reliable means of transport for all.

4
Opel 4 / 20  concept (1929)

With a market share of 37.5 percent and 42,771 units sold, Opel was again the largest automaker in Germany in 1928.

Much of their success rested on their groundbreaking sales approach. In the early summer of 1929, Opel became the first German automotive company to establish an insurance company and a company for financing installment sales.

Around this time, Opel attracted a great deal of attention with their pioneering RAK rocket-propulsion program. It included record-breaking land runs with RAK 2 and 3 and a successful flight with the RAK 1 Friedrich aircraft.

Primarily because of the economic crisis, the Opel brothers began looking around for a strong partner as the 1920s wore on. In March 1929, the descendants of Adam Opel reached an agreement with representatives of the General Motors Corporation (GM). The world's largest automaker took over the majority of the shares, but left Opel its independence in all areas.

From then on, all activities were focused on the "core business" of making automobiles. Opel was able not only to fortify its strong market position, but also succeeded in expanding it.


1930


1.8
Opel 1.8 L  concept (1930)

By the mid-1930s, the company was Europe's largest producer of automobiles. In 1935, Opel built more than 100,000 vehicles in a single year for the first time - a figure that included 25,000 Blitz light trucks built at the new plant in Brandenburg.

That same year saw the production of the legendary Opel Olympia. It was the first mass-produced German car to have an all-steel integral body and frame.

While all this was happening, Opel was posting international sales successes. The connection with GM had given it greater access to the world market. New bases were established in Japan, China, and various countries in South America.

1.2
Opel 1.2 L  concept (1931)

During this period, the production capacity for bicycles was steadily reduced in favor of the constantly rising demand for passenger cars. In 1937, Opel finally sold this segment of its business to NSU. Altogether, Opel had produced about 2.6 million bicycles up to that point.


1950


Olympia
Opel Olympia  concept (1950)

The first post-war Opel, a 1.5 ton Blitz truck, left the plant as early as 1946. In 1947, passenger car production restarted with a revised version of the pre-war Opel Olympia model.

By 1950, the plant was completely repaired, and three years later, annual production had risen again to more than 100,000 vehicles.

As early as 1956, Opel was able to sell 207,010 vehicles and achieve a market share of 17.6 percent. That same year, they produced the two-millionth Opel. The anniversary model, a pastel-colored Kapitän with a full-width body, had gold-plated fittings, and received considerable attention at numerous exhibitions.


1970


Manta
Opel Manta  concept (1970)

In 1962, the 100th anniversary of the company's establishment, Adam Opel AG opened a second plant in Bochum. The new Kadett rolled off the production lines there, with the slogan "A new car from a new plant".

In order to be able to offer an attractive model to the growing community of sports car fans, the company developed a coupé in the mid-1960s. With the GT, Opel confirmed its reputation as the maker of particularly dynamic automobiles.

A business record was also set in 1972: with a market share of 20.4 percent, the company again became Germany's largest automaker.

Diplomat
Opel Diplomat Coupe CD concept (1970)

With the first oil crisis and changing customer expectations, Opel developed a completely new model range at the end of the 1970s to meet the demands of the coming decade.

People were looking for cars with plenty of performance combined with the lowest possible fuel consumption. With its aerodynamic shape, the Rekord E embodied this new philosophy and was received enthusiastically by the general public.

In order to boost production in Europe further, the company opened an additional work in 1982 in Zaragoza, Spain. The Corsa sub-compact produced there quickly became the best-selling car in its segment.

Commodore
Opel Commodore  concept (1972)



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