In 1862, German entrepreneur Adam Opel founded an industrial company that received his name, which initially occupied a niche in the production of sewing machines. In addition, in 1870 the production of carriages and bicycles under the Opel brand began. The first car of the well-known brand today was presented in 1899, after the company received an order for its creation from a major manufacturer of equipment for railways Friedrich Lutzmann. True, Adam did not find the revolutionary brainchild of his company, having died long before this significant event. The business of Adam Opel was continued by his sons, since childhood, fascinated by the first cars and internal combustion engines.
In 1902, the first production car of the Opel brand was presented, equipped with a power unit with a capacity of 10 horsepower. Thanks to a successful start of sales, just a year later, a more powerful version with a 20 horsepower engine, called 20 / 24PS, was introduced.
In 1905, the first luxury car, the Opel luxury class, was presented, which received a revolutionary 6.9-liter power unit. Thanks to a number of orders from the richest residents of Germany and Austria, Opel began to gain popularity among the upper strata of the population. A year later, the Berlin plant of the company was opened, where the thousandth car of the brand would later be produced in early 1907.
However, the company's management decides to expand its target audience, which resulted in the release of the budget model "Opel" in 1909. In just three years, the volume of sales of cars of the German brand increased 9.5 times, which allowed the company to enter the car markets of Italy and France.
Two years later, Opel became the largest car manufacturer in Germany, far behind all its competitors. However, the First World War agitates the ambitious plans of the sons of Adam Opel, which leads to a gradual start of a crisis within the company, which was overcome only after 9 years.
The savior of the Opel brand was the American concern General Motors, which bought out a controlling stake, appointing the descendants of the founder of the brand to positions in the structure of pre-sale preparation of cars, and GM engineers sent from the United States became responsible for the creation of new cars. However, the Opel family founds a small bank that sells brand cars on credit, which has a positive effect on the growth of sales of post-war Opel cars.
By 1936, thanks to the correct strategy and large financial infusions from General Motors, Opel became the largest automaker in Europe, which Adolf Hitler notes, exempting the company from paying taxes. However, sympathy from the dictator leads to the fact that the company comes under the control of the German Ministry of Industry, and the production of cars is completely stopped in 1939. During the Second World War, Opel plants produced heavy trucks and light tanks.
In 1946, the German occupation government returns control over the Opel company to the General Motors concern, which makes it possible to restore the destroyed factories of the brand in the shortest possible time and start producing passenger cars.
However, now the production of Opel models consists only in the creation of original bodies for the Vauxhall chassis (another brand under the control of General Motors) and GM, which, unexpectedly for both parties, has a positive effect on sales statistics. By 1972, this approach brings Opel to the first place in sales and production of cars in Germany, and the models of the German brand cover the automotive market throughout Western Europe.
Having successfully held out among the country's largest automakers, by 1992 a gradual decline in the production of Opel cars began, and the measures taken by General Motors to save the situation did not bear much fruit. Despite this, the company continues to build new factories in Poland and Hungary. In 2000, a large-scale restructuring of the brand's production facilities in Germany begins, and the creation of new models under the Opel brand is limited only to minor modifications to existing Chevrolet cars.
In 2001, Opel released an updated version of the Corsa and Astra Cabrio. They continued the line of fine cars. However, the company did not stop with modifications only. Among the new products, the Opel Speedster, Astra Coupe OPC X-Treme and the production van Zafira OPC stand out.
Wishing to increase the company's prestige and attract new customers, Opel launches a large advertising campaign. The new Opel Vectra was presented under its auspices.
A year later, the Opel Speedster Turbo and Opel Astra 1.6 CNG station wagon appear on the German market. The latter model stood out among others in that it ran not on gasoline, but on natural gas. A little later, the concern announces the release of two more cars: Opel Signum and Opel Meriva. Remembering that in 2002 the designers presented only one new model, no one expected great achievements from Opel, but the company managed to surprise everyone. At the International Motor Show in Frankfurt (IAA), Opel products become perhaps the most striking presentation.
In 2005, the Opel Zafira 1.6 CNG powered by compressed natural gas was announced as the best-selling car in Germany. The Geneva Motor Show showed potential buyers the premiere of the Astra and Zafira OPC models. It is worth noting that almost immediately after the release, the Opel Zafira OPC minivan received several prestigious awards. The first of these was the five stars from Euro NCAP, which speaks of the excellent safety of the car. This was followed by receiving the Golden Steering Wheel award for the best compact minivan.
In 2006, the new Opel GT sports car was presented at the Geneva Motor Show. He became the follower of the legendary GT of the 1960s.
However, such a decision yields only temporary benefits, which plunge Opel into a protracted crisis in 2007. And in 2008, after the unexpected bankruptcy of General Motors, which was saved only by investments from the governments of the United States of America and Canada, the question of selling Opel with the British division of Vauxhall was raised. A variety of concerns and companies apply for the purchase of such a large automaker, including a joint application from Volkswagen and Sberbank of Russia. However, preliminary agreements were made with the Canadian company Magna, which assembles cars of all major brands for sale in the United States. But after the change of management of the European branch of General Motors, the Opel company was withdrawn from sale, and the company's engineers received a number of orders for the creation of new cars under the name of the legendary brand.