Opel Automobile GmbH is a German carmaker, subsidiary of Groupe PSA. The company was founded by engineer Adam Opel in 1862 as a sewing machine manufacturer and is one of the oldest industry makers in the world.
The first Opel cars were produced in 1899 by Adam Opel’s sons in a partnership with Friedrich Lutzmann. Although the cars weren’t successful, a licensing agreement with Automobiles Darracq France allowed Opel to continue car manufacturing.
Opel became the first German automaker to integrate a mass-production assembly line during the 20s. Models such as the Opel Admiral convertible and the Opel Kapitan were well received by the public and Opel became Germany’s largest exporter of cars as of 1928. One year later GM bought 80% of the company shares and transformed Opel into a subsidiary until 2017. Opel manufactured the Blitz military truck using a 1.4-liter Olympia engine.
After intensive rebuilding of the Russelsheim plant, Opel restarted production of the commercial and passenger vehicles. Some of the representative models in the post-war era include the Opel Rekord P1 (1957) and the revamping of the Opel Kapitan. Opel introduced its first turbocharged vehicle in 1984, at the Geneva Auto show (Rekord 2.3 TD).
During the 90s, Opel registered profits similar to automotive giant Toyota, allowing GM to offset losses on the American continent. Around the best-selling models of the 90s there are the Opel Astra (compact segment) sold as hatchback and sedan and the larger Vectra (replaced by the Insignia). Both the Astra and Vectra models were available in the GTC 2-door chassis, with improved engine performance.
The Opel Kadett E (1985) was extensively used in rally competitions as well as low-spec racing championships, ensuring a number of wins. More recent models of Opel include the Adam 2-door roadster concept and the plug-in hybrid Ampera.
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