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Opel, originally and more correctly known as Adam Opel AG is an automobile maker in Germany. It opened for business on January 21, 1899 and as the Opel company started to build cars, it also made household goods. However, two years later, following the dissolution of his partnership, Adam Opel signed a licensing agreement with Automobiles Darracq S.A. of France to manufacture vehicles under the brand name "Opel-Darracq." The vehicles were Opel bodies mounted on a Darracq chassis, powered by a 2-cylinder engine.

1902 Opel-Darracq
Image:Bochum Opel.jpg
An Opel Factory in Bochum

Since 1929, Opel has been part of General Motors. Many cars sold by General Motors worldwide are Opel designs, including such models as the Corsa, Astra, Vectra and Omega. Opel models are also sold under other GM brand names, such as Vauxhall in the UK, Holden in Australasia, and Chevrolet in Latin America. Its Zafira people carrier is sold in Japan badged as a Subaru, while the Omega was briefly sold in the US as the Cadillac Catera. The first cars produced by Daewoo in South Korea were based on the Opel Kadett (now Astra) and larger Rekord (now Omega). Opels appeared under their own name in the US in the late Sixties, when they were sold through Buick dealers as captive imports.

Opel is the main GM brand name in Europe except in the UK, where GM's other European subsidiary, Vauxhall Motors, still uses its own brand name. Vauxhall's models were completely different designs from those of Opel, until the 1970s. The Opel name largely disappeared from the UK in 1981 after Vauxhall and Opel dealerships were merged, with only the Manta being sold as an Opel, until it was discontinued in 1988.

Vauxhall began adopting Opel's names for its models, with the exception of 'Kadett' which was replaced by Astra, already used by Vauxhall, in 1991. However, even in other right hand drive markets in Europe like the Republic of Ireland the main GM brand name is now Opel, although many Vauxhalls, imported second hand from the UK, are still seen on Irish roads. For many years, Opel Ireland sponsored the country's soccer team, using the slogan 'Ireland's Number One Supporter'.

Some have suggested that the Vauxhall name should be dropped in the UK in favour of Opel, thereby harmonising GM's marketing strategy across Europe. However, Vauxhall has rejected this, on the grounds that its brand is well known, and fleet buyers, who are its main customer base, insisted that Opel models be rebadged as Vauxhalls.

The company headquarters are located in R�sselsheim, and it has plants in Bochum and Eisenach as well as in Belgium, Spain and Poland. Opel cars are also made in Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant in the United Kingdom.

In October 2004 employees went on strike for six days due to the threat of 12,000 job losses. The threat was due to the unprofitable European markets because of low customer demand. The strike had a major impact on production. Employee negotiations are still underway to come to an acceptable deal.


Opel models


External links

  • Opel
  • DMOZ.org: Opel

de:Adam Opel AG fr:Opel ja:オペル nl:Opel no:Opel pl:Adam Opel AG fi:Opel sv:Opel


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Related articles

Image:Wikipedia-small.png Wikipedia article about Opel (search). This article uses material from that article.

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