Mention Opel to an American and he/she may recall the Corvette-esque GT, Kadett, or Manta, but the brand hasn’t been sold at Buick dealerships since the 1970s. On occasion Americans would get a badge-engineered version (Cadillac Catera and several of the final Saturn models) but overall Americans aren’t too familiar with the brand in recent years. But in Europe, it’s General Motors’ core brand. Considering the brand has been struggling for a number of years, any Opel news (and Vauxhall, for that matter) is important news.
Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, chairman of the board of Opel, and President of GM Europe and Executive Vice President, gave members of the automotive press the inside scoop on several new models in Geneva, introduced a concept car to gauge reaction, debuted a new motor or two, and made a major announcement about OnStar.
Opel’s little city car received a dose of excitement for 2013 when the Adam Rocks concept was shown at Geneva. A year later, the Adam Rocks returned to Geneva, this time as a production vehicle. “This car really rocks, doesn’t it?” said Neumann, who touted the Rock as being true to last year’s show car with the same look intact combined with the toughness of a crossover and the coolness of the power-operated canvas top. In marketing terms, it’s for people seeking personal freedom off the beaten path. Chassis has been raised 15mm from the standard Adam, but power will be more typical street fare: a 1.0L three-cylinder with direct injection giving either 90 or 115 horsepower.
But that’s not the only special Adam headed to dealerships around Europe and elsewhere—enthusiasts will have the Adam S to consider. A subcompact with touring appeal may be a foreign concept to Americans, but a 150hp 1.4L four-cylinder paired with a six-speed manual sounds mighty fun.
Both of the above models will complement the current Adam lineup, which includes the Adam Jam, Adam Glam, and Adam Slam.
ASTRA OPC EXTREME CONCEPT
Opel’s Astra OPC is the sportster in Opel’s bread and butter model lineup, putting out 276 horsepower from a 2.0L turbo four with direct injection. If this isn’t enough for you, the OPC EXTREME concept should pique your interest. It has been lightened by 100 kilograms (220 pounds) via carbon fiber roof, wheels, and other peripheral doodads, and horsepower has been increased to 300, making the OPC EXTREME perfect for both the twisties and the Autobahn. This is a production-ready concept to gauge public interest, so be sure to let Opel know what you think.
NEW DIESEL FOR ASTRA
To most Americans, Diesels are popular with truck enthusiasts, fans of Che Guevara, and hygiene-challenged college professors. But to Europe, they’re a popular way to get around. For one thing, the cost of Diesel fuel is not as expensive as it is on our shores. And, as most enthusiasts know by now, Diesel doesn’t conjure up images of a single sooty taillight like it did 35 years ago. In the case of Opel’s new 1.6L CDTI turbo Diesel, it will be offered in flavors of 110 and 136 horsepower and manage 3.7L/100km (which is more than 62 mpg). It also meets upcoming Euro 6 emission standards while offering top refinement and efficiency. Premium German brands have been bringing Diesels to the US—could this be the next-gen Diesel for the Cruze?
Americans have had OnStar for quite a long time – even before we knew what GPS was – but Europeans haven’t had this feature until now. Set to debut for 2015, OnStar will offer the following:
- 4G/LTE connectivity
- SOS emergency services
- Remote services (lock doors, and honk car if lost)
- Stolen vehicle assistance
- Roadside assistance
- Diagnostic check
Say what you will about Big Brother, but it’s likely that Opel buyers will embrace this new feature.
Opel will be promoting a “It’s a German!” pan-European ad campaign featuring Claudia Schiffer. As Neumann said in the below press conference, “Opel is back!” and certainly its product portfolio has some freshness to it, but it remains to be seen if the struggling automaker can make that claim when they tally up the sales in the ensuing months.