Mobility for Millions: Best Example – Opel Corsa “120 Years”
- Exclusive anniversary offer: Opel Corsa “120 Years” special model at best prices
- Long tradition: Laubfrosch, P4, Kadett, Corsa and Co. make millions mobile
- For everyone: Democratisation of technology is core Opel brand characteristic
- Assembly line: Advanced production leads to first real people’s car from Opel
Rüsselsheim. In 2019 Opel celebrates 120 years of automobile production – and thereby 120 years full of innovations for everyone. The German brand has a tradition of pioneering high-tech advancements and quickly bringing them to series production. This makes mobility affordable for many and the cars safer, cleaner, more comfortable and more practical. The 120 years advertising campaign, “Opel. Born in Germany. Made for everyone.” is based on this philosophy. It was as true of the first Opel – the Patentmotorwagen “System Lutzmann” of 1899 – as of all the other models that followed, from the “Doktorwagen” to “Laubfrosch” (Tree Frog), P4 and Kadett. Today the philosophy matches the Opel Corsa more than any other model.
Depending on the model version, the Corsa is as suited to singles and couples as to whole families. So it comes as no surprise that more than 13.5 million units have been produced since 1982. “The Corsa remains one of our most important models across Europe”, says Xavier Duchemin, Managing Director Sales, Aftersales and Marketing. The bestseller therefore plays a leading role in this anniversary year. “Opel has been democratising mobility for 120 years”, added Duchemin. “In our cars we make pioneering technology and comfort features affordable for all. This is what we stand for and the best example of this is the Corsa! Our anniversary model line-up has the right car for everyone – with extensive equipment and at best prices.”
The standard equipment of the Corsa special model positioned above the “Edition” variant includes assistance systems such as rear Park Pilot and Cruise Control. Comfort is increased with features like heated seats, heated steering and velour carpets. In addition to attractive prices, the “120 Years” models also feature light-alloy wheels and stylish chrome details, as well as “OPEL” and the “120 Years” logo on the door sills. Prices for the Opel Corsa “120 Years” in Germany begin at €15,440 including VAT (Corsa 1.2 with 51 kW/70 hp and five-speed manual transmission: fuel consumption1, 2 : urban 7.4-7.3 l/100 km, extra-urban 5.0-4.9 l/100 km, combined 5.9-5.8 l/100 km, 134-132 g/km CO2) – with additional equipment packs the price advantage can reach as much as €2,540.00 3.
Since 1899: Suitability for everyday use over technology as an end in itself
The Opel Corsa in general and the Corsa “120 Years” in particular show that it is a core brand characteristic to always offer customers more than they expect in the respective vehicle class. The foundation for this was laid at the end of the 19th century by the Opel patent motor car “System Lutzmann”. Its short price list already included two innovative extras: the first was the pneumatic tire, which was invented by Robert William Thomson in 1845, but had not yet found widespread use in automobile production. The second was the optional removable child seat available for the small two-seat motorised coach, whose one-cylinder, 4 hp engine delivered a speed of 30 km/h. This example alone clearly illustrates what Opel has been all about from the very beginning: absolute suitability for everyday use instead of technology as an end in itself.
First “small car” in automotive history
In 1909, the Opel 4/8 hp pioneered the introduction of affordable mobility. It was modern with solid technology, easy to operate and manoeuvrable, enabling ambitious car owners to drive it themselves instead of relying on a chauffeur – considerably reducing the overall cost of ownership. And the quality of materials and workmanship created confidence. The first officially designated “small car” in automotive history was considered fully suitable for everyday use. The vehicle ideal for “doctors, veterinarians and lawyers” according to the adverts was available at prices from 4,000 to 5,000 Marks, while models from other manufacturers cost around 20,000 Marks. Thus the means of transport for the upper class became a vehicle for the middle class - thanks to the “Doctor's car”.
In 1924, the Rüsselsheim-based company went even further to cater to the “average consumer” – also thanks to an automotive innovation. After all, from the very first minute Opel was committed to producing cars as efficiently as possible and thus making them affordable for a broad customer base. Consequently, the 4/12 hp heralded the start of assembly line production in Germany. And because the 60 km/h fast car was only available “in a quiet green that pleases the eye” to keep the time and effort required for production at a minimum, everyone called it the “Tree Frog”. Soon, 25 two-seater “cars for everyone” left the assembly line every day. In the following years an entire vehicle family was built on the Tree Frog technology. The smoother production ran, the greater the cost advantage that Opel passed on to its customers. Unbelievable but true: the purchase price of the 4 hp model series, of which 119,484 units were produced, was almost 40 per cent lower in 1931 than at the launch of the Tree Frog model.
People’s car with top drive technology at modest price
In 1935 the time was ripe for the people’s car – from Opel, mind you. The P4 presented in November rolled of the assembly line soon thereafter. The four-seater with four-cylinder four-stroke engine – according to the P4 brochure “like the most expensive cars in the world” – cost only 1,450 Marks in the standard version. “How is this possible? To offer so much value, a real full-out automobile that even exceeds expectations for so little money?” The answer was clear: thanks to state-of-the-art mass production. This also came into play shortly thereafter with the Kadett 1, which also took over the design of the Opel Olympia. This made it one of the first German cars to feature a self-supporting all-steel body, which was more comfortable, safer and more durable than the conventional frame structures.
The real people’s car successor was the 1962 Kadett A. The low maintenance costs were expressly part of the recipe for success of the two-door notchback model. The lines were matter-of-fact and modern. At the same time, the interior space was anything but typical of a small car. The advertising promised “well-formed seats, plenty of legroom. We have dispensed with overhanging metalwork and unnecessary bells and whistles. That would only have cost a lot of money.” Instead, the boot was a real luggage compartment and – the fuel filler cap was on the outside! “You never have the smell of petrol in your boot,” it said with a wink towards Wolfsburg. With its modern, water-cooled front engine, the Kadett offered a further design advantage over the Beetle. “Opel Kadett, in short: O.K.” – Opel built almost 650,000 units by 1965 alone.
Lots of space on a small platform
In 1982 Opel once again accomplished a great feat with a small car: the Corsa A joined the range below the Kadett, which by now was becoming a compact model. Designed by Chief Designer Erhard Schnell, who also penned the legendary Opel GT, the only 3.62m-long Corsa was notable for its prominent rally-car wheel arches and a drag coefficient of 0.36. Offered initially as a two-door hatchback and sedan, and a five-door as of 1985, the Corsa again demonstrated how masterfully Opel can generate space on a small platform. The 100hp GSi also combined frugality with fun. Originally conceived as an entry-level model for those on a tight budget, the Corsa A had become a bestseller by 1993 with a total of 3.1 million units sold.
Corsa surpasses 14 million units and heads for electro-mobility
Opel remains in the middle of society today. Across the range the brand offers features more often found in more expensive cars. Now in its fifth generation, the Corsa is typical for this democratisation of mobility. The small Opel star is heading for 14 million registrations in Europe, also thanks to the “120 Years” special model, which already comes as standard with a host of state-of-the-art technologies as well as design and comfort features at attractive prices. The next generation of this practical, stylish and dynamic model will be launched in a few months’ time, also with a pure battery electric variant. The 2019 Corsa will continue Opel’s 120-year history of automotive engineering and mobility for millions with a significant and ground-breaking new chapter.
 WLTP measurements converted to NEDC values for comparison
 WLTP combined figures (for information only, not to be confused with official NEDC values):
combined 7.1-6.6 l/100 km, 162-149 g/km CO2
 Compared to a similarly equipped base model, including pack price advantage for special equipment over individual options.
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