General Motors Corporation is a giant United States car company. Through the years, the firm has moved to strengthen its foothold in the global car market by expanding into other regional markets from its home base region in North America. Its foray into the European car market led the company to acquire and market Opel cars.
Opel cars are German cars in origin. The car brand was originally designed and manufactured by Adam Opel GmbH. Adam Opel, or simply called Opel, was not originally a car maker. The company was founded by Adam Opel, a sewing machine maker, in 1863. Opel was a household equipment manufacturer until its founder died in the year 1895.
Opel shifted focus from sewing machines to cars in 1898. The son of Mr. Opel managed the company and acquired car maker Lutzmann. As a result, the cars produced initially by Opel were distributed under the brand name Opel-Lutzmann. The partnership of the brand only lasted for two years due to economic reasons.
In 1900, Opel entered into a partnership deal with France-based Automobiles Darracq SA. The car models produced by the company were called Opel-Darracq. Such vehicles had Darracq chassis integrated and installed into Opel car bodies. Opel-Darracq car models were developed and unveiled in 1902, but it was only in 1906 that the brand started marketing its cars. Despite a 1911 fire incidence in its facility, Opel-Darracq emerged to become the biggest German car maker by 1913.
The partnership with GM started as early as 1929. That time, the US-based firm accumulated 80% stakes in Opel-Darracq. Adhering to takeover rules, GM bought 100% of Opel from the Opel family for about $33.3 million. From then on, Opel dropped the Darracq name and began being a GM subsidiary and an in-house brand simply as Opel.
Most of GM's global car models are based on designs of Opel car models like the Astra, Corsa, Omega and Vectra. Opel car models have also been rolled out globally through different brand names, including Vauxhall for the United Kingdom market, Chevrolet in India and the Latin American region and Holden in Australia and Asia. These brands are very much active currently.
To date, regardless of the ownership and brand names, Opel has been attributed to the design and distribution of many car models. Included in this growing list are 19 historic models, 15 concept vehicles, 3 LCVs and 12 passenger type cars.
As a car brand, Opel is enjoying the best of two car development worlds. It is known as a German car and at the same time as a US-based trade name under GM. Opel has been operating under GM for the past eight decades. But until this date, car buyers and aficionados still identify Opel cars independently for Opel's own brand recognition and design.
Opel cars still hold the distinct Opel features. GM characteristics are incorporated. Luckily, Opel still holds its own identity, almost independent from that of its current parent company. Opel brand still highly commands respect, trust and worth. No wonder that even up to this day, sales of cars bearing Opel badges are still very much actively traded in the global car market.
Original Authors: Manny
Edit Update Authors: RPN
Updated On: 21/06/2007