Mission Insignia


Time lapse: Opel presents the Insignia in K48’s historic halls.


Automotive journalists see, discover, and experience all manner of things almost every day of their working lives. Which is not surprising – after all, innovations are the bread and butter of their profession. Premieres, presentations, and test drives are their staple diet around the globe. And now, it’s the turn of the new Opel Insignia. The model presented in K48 complex on the Rüsselsheim factory site is a Sedan, the Insignia Grand Sport option. On the one hand, by the engineers and designers who spent years realizing the new flagship model and, after them, the experts from Sales & Marketing who will be bringing the new model onto the market. Whatever their functions in the achievement of this masterpiece, they all have one thing in common – immense pride in what they have achieved. But will they be able to transplant their passion for the second generation of the Insignia into the hearts and minds of this audience of seasoned media representatives? Opel Post shared all the stages of the press and media tour with the journalists.

For a whole two weeks, 550 journalists from every corner of Europe traveled to Rüsselsheim to make their acquaintance with the new Insignia. It is the biggest international, live-driving launch event staged by a German automobile manufacturer for many years.


Watchful “Kapitän” During the event, the journalists take a break for snacks and refreshments – and a chance to marvel at the traditions of the Opel brand.


Stop 1: The Opel Burger

Everyone entering K48 feels like a special guest at an exclusive, premium motor show. The atmosphere is spacious and airy. Industrial look with hanging lights. Here, softly carpeted areas. There, a mobile wall element as a divider. The hall is hung with gigantic pictures, banners, posters and facts about the new Insignia. And, of course, the starring role is played by the vehicle itself, accompanied by its legendary ancestors, the KAD models – the Kapitän, Admiral and Diplomat. To keep up their strength, visitors to the event can try a freshly-made burger – in a crusty bread roll baked with an original “Opel-Blitz”, the traditional streak of lightning logo. Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann drops by while they are enjoying a snack. A few welcoming words. Are you having a good time? In no time at all, shop talk about the new Insignia is on the menu.

The story so far
Everyone is relaxed and looking forward to what comes next. For some, the most exciting part so far is the burger, but not for long.

Table-talk with the CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann in conversation with the journalists.

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The Opel Burger


Note books at the ready The guests listen to Thomas Benkner’s presentation.


What are we aiming for with the second generation? This is the issue Thomas Benkner and his colleagues from Marketing had to resolve before the development of the new Insignia could begin.

Stop 2: How to handle a new star in the marketing universe

Thomas Benkner is Manager Product & Pricing in Marketing. He explains how the individual teams at Opel addressed the challenges of creating the new flagship model. “We all knew we were going to have a tough time topping the success of the first Insignia.” After all, 940,000 models sold speaks for itself. Benkner’s department analyzed the situation and defined the points with which the new generation would have to make its mark: design, the driving sensation, and technical features, whether sophisticated details like the head-up display or entire systems, as in the case of its lighting technology. “On top of this, we had to keep in mind that we also wanted to offer a vehicle at an attractive and highly competitive price. Not only in terms of the purchasing price, but also the servicing and leasing costs.”

The story so far
The faces of everyone present reveal their interest in finding out more about the new Insignia.


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Lighter, more dynamic, more comfort Chief Engineer Werner Joeris tells about the new engines and how the overall weight was reduced.


Stop 3: The engineer with the sparkling eyes

Werner Joeris gets straight to the point. “We managed to reduce the weight of the Grand Sport by up to 175 kilos – that’s 385 pounds – that’s something you’re going to notice when you take it out on the road.” Werner Joeris played his part in the project as Chief Engineer. Amongst other things, his province includes aspects like the drivetrain, aerodynamics, vibration, and noise. Here, he ably explains where and how lightweight, high-strength steels have been used to cut down the weight of the car. He also mentions the role in weight reduction played by the aluminum hood. Werner Joeris’ eyes sparkle when he describes what it feels like in terms of performance when a completely new engine generation has one kilo less to move for every horsepower it delivers: “We have given a whole new meaning to the concept of driving dynamics.”

The story so far
You can literally feel that the Opel presentation has not only captured the interest of the journalists, but has now also grabbed their attention.

A better driving experience That was the leitmotif that guided Werner Joeris and his team during the development of the Grand Sport concept


Design-walkaround with Niels Loeb.


Stop 4: Design must not be seen as an end in itself

How can design play a role in automobile dynamics? For instance, by lowering the driver’s position more than is usual in cars – like they do in Formula 1 racing. By designing the cockpit to focus on and almost hug the person at the wheel. The way Opel did it in the Grand Sport – without predestining the vehicle for a role as a muscle car, but rather as a generous giver of space and comfort – is what Niels Loeb now explains to the guests.

The designer doesn’t concentrate only on the interior. As regards the exterior, he demonstrates the synthesis of refined elegance and athletic dynamism inherited from the highly acclaimed Monza concept from 2013: This applies not only to the overall silhouette, but also to seemingly insignificant aspects like the crease on the hood.” This, by the way, also applies to the Sports Tourer, which the journalists can also feast their eyes on at this stage of the tour.

The story so far
Several pages of notebooks already filled, several astonished, almost incredulous, looks. The journalists have switched into active mode.

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Niels Loeb


Anything is possible is how Frank Leibold describes the “Opel Exclusive” program.


Stop 5: For individualists – “Opel Exclusive” 

Frank Leibold is a master of the art of telling stories. The Group Manager Sales & Marketing interweaves products and messages from his division – Individualization & Accessories – with tales of his personal experiences. For instance, when he speaks of the enormous range of custom colors the recently launched “Opel Exclusive” program offers its customers. Frank Leibold’s own Insignia Grand Sport certainly stands out – in eye-catchingly confident “Dynamic Orange”. “The first time I drove down to the bakery in it, the bread rolls I wanted had to wait quite a while. The girl from behind the counter came to the curbside, and I had to explain just how my car came to look so cool.”

In a recent interview with TV reporters, Frank Leibold explained that Opel can fulfill any personal color preference, “a reporter called out that she knew this kind of variety only from Bentley.” As Leibold then pointed out, that was precisely the effect the people behind the Insignia Grand Sport wanted to achieve: to show mid-range automobile customers AND the premium segment just what Opel can do.

The story so far
An infinite range of color options, a whole catalog of high-class alloy wheels, and more. Opel Exclusive fulfills customers’ desires for uniquely personalized mobility. That’s a pretty impressive – and justified – claim.

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To offer extras that many premium manufacturers can’t: Frank Leibold’s vision is the realization and fulfillment of the specific wishes of all Opel customers.


Andreas Holl demonstrates the Twinster torque.

Stop 6: Technology – only the finest is good enough

All-wheel drive – this is a keyword for increased traction. This improves dynamics and agility, brings greater safety, and lower CO₂ emissions. It’s also a term that automobile journalists take particular note of when it comes to mid-range cars. Andreas Holl, Manager Chassis Controls & 4×4 Integration, is very much aware of this: “Our latest is the first mass-produced model to feature Twinster torque vectoring all-wheel drive.” Here, two clutches replace the conventional differential on the rear axle. Andreas Holl expands on this: “The result of this is that we can apply torque to one or both of the rear wheels independently in fractions of a second.” This technology is a groundbreaking concept that increases the agility and roadholding of the Grand Sport in bends – on any road surface.

The story so far
Yet another outstanding feature. This raises the pulse-rate of the audience to a brand new level. And the anticipation of finally getting a chance to drive the Grand Sport.


The fun starts when it gets dark: The latest-generation lighting concept from Opel scores top marks with its remarkably intelligent LED technology.


Stop 7: Illumination

All the driver needs to do is switch to high-beam. After that, a smart system controls and doses the light – and precisely adapts to the needs of every possible situation that could be encountered when driving in the dark. This is the core message put across by Project Engineer Gregor Krieg, one of the contributors to the realization of Opel’s latest lighting generation with adaptive, dazzle-free high-beam light. He now demonstrates LED Matrix Light to the journalists. As Gregor Krieg explains, “What’s truly amazing is not only the fact that the high-beam light identifies and reacts to oncoming vehicles at a range of up to 400 meters, but also the system’s characteristic fast response times and harmonious transitions.”

The story so far
Journalists and testers reviewing the new Opel Astra were already ecstatic about the Matrix lighting system. The next generation of this advanced technology astounded even the most seasoned automobile magazine editors.

 

 

The final chapter:
Mission accomplished. With fascinating features and hard facts, the colleagues presenting the new flagship model successfully to the media representatives. They also fired their curiosity, grabbed their attention, and, in the end, awakened excitement and fascination at an emotional level. And ultimately, a burning passion to get behind the wheel of the new masterpiece from Rüsselsheim as soon as possible for an unforgettable, hands-on driving experience. And that’s what they got!

 

Text: Andreas Wollny, Photos: Harald Dawo, Rudolf Mehlhaff