Maxing Out into the Orange

The long tour or the short tour? All or nothing.

 

12:57 p.m.: The sky is cloudy, and it’s drizzling on the hot dog stand. Standing next to it are two men wearing black T-shirts under their jackets with “#WERKannderkann” embroidered across their chests. A third man is running towards them: “Sorry, I just came from the early shift. Where is it?” “Renzel, MPK,” “Nikolaus, Final Assembly,” “Levite, Body Shop” – eight words. That is all that is needed for the introductions. And where is it? It’s around the corner. Because at noon this Wednesday, the hot dog stand on the grounds of the Rüsselsheim plant serves as the meeting site for a special Opel Post tour. Three colleagues, who have been manufacturing the new Insignia Grand Sport in series production since this morning, are taking part in the media launch – including a test drive. Which route, long or short? “All or nothing.”


Popular Turbo Thomas Leibold (right) is the manager of the Exclusive customization program that keeps 15 additional colors on hand ready for use – and every individual shade imaginable. Leibold: “But be careful, you get very popular all of a sudden.  The last time I picked up some rolls in an Insignia in Dynamic Orange, I spent 20 minutes showing the car to the salespersons.”

Opel Insignia Probefahrt mit Opel Mitarbeitern

Expert Talk Are the production employees discussing the gap size or the joint accuracy? Neither nor. The awesome look of the 20-inch light-alloy wheels on the Insignia Grand Sport.


And what is the best way to get ready for the tour? Exactly how the journalist groups from all over Europe have been doing it every day up until March 31. In K48 with short presentations given by high-profile Opel experts about the sporty design, the reduction in weight of up to 200kg, the “Make Your Insignia The Way You Want It” Exclusive program, about the insane driving dynamics thanks to torque vectoring, or to the 400m range of the LED matrix light. And last but not least with an Opel burger.

 

Otherwise, no one would believe me.

A look in the production hall? Forget it! Everyone gathers together. The test drive can start. Well, not quite. The welcome light is turned on again. The Insignia in the Exclusive color, dynamic red, is photographed from every angle. “Otherwise, no one would believe me.” The group is studying a chart with the available motorization variants. “It doesn’t matter, as long as it has a manual transmission.”

Jovial Companion Jürgen Fautz gives an exclusive tour to the colleagues from production through the workshops. People are amazed when he says that he has been part of the company since 1976. At the end, there is a limited-edition design sketch of the Insignia to serve as a memento for everyone.


It Impressed the Colleagues


2017 Opel Insignia Grand Sport

“That is just my thing. If you need a test driver on the Nürburgring I would be willing to volunteer.

– Oliver Renzel –
on Torque Vectoring

01_Bildschirmfoto 2017-03-23 um 14.00.59 Kopie

“Aren’t those colors great? Only I cant tell my wife. Otherwise she’ll come to me with her nail polish.

– Andreas Levite –
on Opel Exclusive

I like that. Can I see the welcome light again? Front and back… and one more time?

– Jakob Nikolaus –
on the LED Matrix Light


Opel Insignia Probefahrt mit Opel Mitarbeitern

Driver Number 1 Jakob Nikolaus is the first one to take the wheel. The 58-year-old currently drives a Corsa and views himself as a defensive, safe driver.


Opel Insignia Probefahrt mit Opel Mitarbeitern

Summary after 79km “The Insignia is an ideal companion for relaxed tours – great seats, the engine is quiet, the blind spot warning mechanism is great!”

Plan

The Route The colleagues drove a total of 210km.

2:20 p.m.: The vehicle that is selected is the Grand Sport with a two-liter diesel engine and manual transmission. No walks around the vehicle, no in-depth studies. Get in, close the door, press the ignition button – everyone is fired up and just wants to DRIVE! Jakob Nikolaus is first up. “Man, these seats are nice. Really comfortable.” He merges on the autobahn and stays in the right lane. The colleagues chat. It is simply amazing how much cutting-edge technology is in cars these days. Born in Siberia, Jakob Niklaus began working in the factory in 1990 installing door seals in the Calibra. Today, he is the group spokesperson in the MB 6 division, an early station in the final assembly.

You do feel a little proud.

– Jakob Nikolaus –

After the sound absorption mats and cables, Nikolaus installs the A pillar paneling, the roof liner in the cabin, and the air conditioning lines in the engine compartment together with his five colleagues. Always in sync. They switch about every hour. That even holds true for the Opel Post tour. They take a pit stop at the old mill in Hofen. “You do feel a little proud when you see what a great car we created,” he says pensively as he runs his hand over the paneling on the A-pillar.


Opel Insignia Probefahrt mit Opel Mitarbeitern

Switching Drivers and Displays The center console display in the cabin can be customized.

 


Opel Insignia Probefahrt mit Opel Mitarbeitern

Driver Number 2 Andreas Levite tells us he prefers an offensive driving style. A car needs to score points with its performance and looks: “I have always driven an Opel, even before I started working here.” The current guest in his garage is an Astra Sports Tourer with a two-liter diesel and 19-inch rims.


It’s 3:30 p.m. and we are on kilometer 102. A question from the back seat: “Where are we actually?” Levite: “Somewhere near Runkel.” After a little fumbling around on the smartphone, the voice in the back informs us: “My cell phone says we’re in Croatia.” The driver responds: “We’re going fast, but even the Insignia can’t go that fast.” Laughter erupts. The three colleagues didn’t know each other before, but have quickly warmed up to each other. That is what Andreas Levite appreciates so much about Opel. “I came here in 1990. I didn’t intend to stay long. It’s been 27 years now. Opel – it’s like a big family.

 


Opel Insignia Probefahrt mit Opel Mitarbeitern

Have a look! Here comes the IntelliLink system’s frameless touchscreen

Opel Insignia Probefahrt mit Opel Mitarbeitern

Big plus No other model in the segment offers such a broad range of intelligent technologies like the new version of the Opel flagship does. Andreas Levite fancies every single one.

As the quality assurance group manager in the Body Shop, he assists in the construction of the body shell. “The sedan is 175kg lighter; the station wagon is 200kg lighter. We play a significant role in that in the Body Shop. Among other things, we use a lot of high-strength steel.”

Opel its like a big family.

– Andreas Levite –

Describing himself, the 47-year-old says: “I’m a fanatic when it comes to lights. What the colleagues were able to do with the matrix lights – simply amazing!” It’s also clear that for the family man, there’s no such thing as too many features, including the heated seats in the back – brilliant! Levite: “That’s what sets Opel apart: Premium features that you’ll otherwise only get with premium manufacturers. And at a fair price.”

 


Opel Insignia Probefahrt mit Opel Mitarbeitern

Driver Number 3 It was already becoming apparent: As of the Hessenpark open-air museum, things were getting wild: Oliver Renzel is testing the Insignia’s performance. He currently drives an Insignia A, 1.6-liter turbo with 180hp. What makes it different: “My tour button is coated with dust. I have never pressed it – and I never will.”


Opel Insignia Probefahrt mit Opel Mitarbeitern

It Fits From the very first second, Oliver Renzel and the new Insignia have become one: “A freaking awesome machine. Or maybe you could just write ‘a wonderful car.’ Oh forget it, just write: Freaking awesome machine. It fits better anyway.”

Opel Insignia Probefahrt mit Opel Mitarbeitern

360 degrees camera Oliver Renzel focuses the Hessenpark entrance via rear view camera. Four single cameras on each side of the vehicle allow an all-round view from bird’s eye perspective.

4:10 p.m.: A rolling country road. The head-up display on the windshield goes back and forth between “95km/h” and “91km/h” – and is constantly showing a stylized green car. Levite: “Does anybody know what the car is doing there?” Everyone shrugs their shoulders. The drivers switch turns at Hessenpark: Buzzzz. Oliver Renzel lowers the seat. Buzzzz. A lot. Even before he turned back on the country road from the gravel parking lot, the projection on the windshield turns orange. “Well colleagues, I figured it out,” he says with a smile. “The car shows us whether you are driving economically.” The colleagues hold on to the handles. The display tends to remain orange over the next 75km, while the colleagues’ knuckles are white around the handles. The bushes on the left and right transform into a continuous strip of green.

Colleagues, we built it well!

– Oliver Renzel –

Oliver Renzel not only knows what the green car means, he also knows the part number of the head-up display. “It’s 271 for Opel and 272 for Vauxhall.” Whether Kanban or large parts – in the warehouse in K130, he takes delivery of the parts to be put together, which are delivered nonstop by truck and distributes them to the warehouse shelves. “What can the sound system do? Mind if I give it a try?” Of course. After the basses and low frequencies have been adjusted a little, it’s clear that the sound system can do quite a bit.

Pedestrians are pointing and heads are turning when the Insignia drives through Rüsselsheim – is it the car or the booming bass tones? Probably both. K48: The hot dog stand is closed. The tour is over. “Gentlemen, it was an honor to drive with you. And I would say: We did a pretty good job, don’t you think?” “You can say that again!”


2017 Opel Insignia Grand Sport

Not in Croatia The route heads to Runkel over the river Lahn, with the medieval Höhenburg castle in the background.

Text: Tina Henze, Photos: Alex Heimann, Video: Rudolf Mehlhaff