First Contact

 

01_schmal

How do you find a galaxy? At the gigantic Frankfurt exhibition grounds, walk in the direction that numerous smiling people are coming from, carrying a bag with information materials in their hand bearing a brilliant yellow Opel lightning bolt. Through the knot of people, into hall 8: Welcome to the Astra Galaxy! The grand stage for the new Astra and the Astra Sports Tourer. The place where you can personally test the online and service assistant Opel OnStar and experience the IntelliLux matrix light for yourself.

We already reported in the Opel Post how the Astra Universe was created and what likable species it harbors. But of course a lot has happened at the more than 3,300-square-meter Opel booth during the visitor days of the 66th IAA. We immersed ourselves in the universe and not only encountered soccer stars, a shopping queen and luminaries. World premieres on a 1:43 scale and ‘bare’ facts were part of the experience as well.

 

Logbook of a Journey Through the Astra Galaxy:

 

01


 

“It is fascinating to see how
connected Erhard remains
with the brand.”

– Friedhelm Engler –
Director Advanced Design

IMG_1265

From the appointed hand: Erhard Schnell (left), father of the Experimental GT, personally approved the model two months ago before it went into production.

Back to the IAA after 50 years: Opel Advanced Designer Friedhelm Engler presents the model of the 1965 Experimental GT.

 

REPLICA OF AN ICON
The journey through the Astra Galaxy begins with a time traveler: “It has been exactly 50 years since Opel was the first automobile manufacturer with the Experimental GT to ever present a concept vehicle built single-handedly,” says Friedhelm Engler, Opel Advanced Designer, taking a 1:43 scale model of the former concept vehicle from a display case in the Opel Shop. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary, Opel had the model produced as a small series of 500 units. None lesser than Erhard Schnell approved the model before it went into production. The former Opel designer born in 1929 was commissioned with the development of the study in 1964 and quickly gave the vision of the design its final form. “It is fascinating to see how connected Erhard remains with the brand,” says Engler, who presented the model to him. According to the Advanced Designer, Erhard’s alert eyes immediately noticed that the lines of the hood still had to be altered a little. The result: A genuine replica of the concept vehicle that inspired such enthusiasm among the press and the public in 1965 and became a reality only three years later with the 1968 GT.

By the way, you can find historic design sketches by Erhard Schnell for the GT in the Opel Post downloads.


SWEEPSTAKES

Opel Post is raffling off a 1:43 scale model of the Experimental GT. The small series produced by Minichamps is limited to 500 models. Send the answer to the following question with ‘Opel Shop Sweepstakes’ in the subject line by 16 October to opel.post@de.opel.com:
In what year did Opel prove its innovativeness at the IAA with the Experimental GT?

Please note the participation terms and conditions.

03_schmal


 

“Nothing like this has ever been seen before at the IAA!”

– Jan Wergin –
Head of CarUnity

 

AP4W0317_galerie

Bare facts: A special sort of ‘sporty little number’ promotes the Opel car sharing platform.

Streaker Alert in Hall Eight
Next to the new Astra, the CarUnity team sends a special sort of ‘sporty little number’ through the Astra Galaxy. A young man clad only in sneakers and underpants runs through the Opel booth. Those bold enough to watch can read the message on his back: ‘Mehr Flitzer gibt‘s auf carunity.com’ (‘For more sporty little numbers, visit carunity.com’ – the German ‘Flitzer’ means ‘sporty little number’ as well as ‘streaker’). Head of CarUnity Jan Wergin is responsible for ‘baring’ these facts. “Nothing like this has ever been seen before at the IAA!” he declares and hopes the promotion will attract plenty of attention to the car sharing platform. Even before that, visitors prove to be pleasantly surprised: “The response has been consistently positive,” emphasizes Benjamin Gimbert, member of the Marketing team who is ready for questions at the CarUnity information point set up especially for the occasion. Many visitors and Opel employees have already heard quite a bit about CarUnity and use the opportunity to get more details.

 

03_schmal

In Brief

17.000

sales brochures for the new were Astra were distributed by the employees at the service counter during the IAA.

03_schmal

 

The team is ready: Employees provide information about current financing, leasing and other sales offers to fellow workers.

A NEW MISSION
Another premiere: Employee Sales (“Verkauf an Mitarbeiter”) is presenting itself for the first time at the Opel booth during the IAA – but not even in order to live up to its name. “We are not here to sell,” confirms Heiko Cezanne who is responsible for sales in German distribution. “We are a point of contact for active members of the Opel family, for Opel retirees and for trainees.” All questions are welcome, ranging from the highlights at the Opel booth to all other IAA topics. “Of course the new Astra is the main topic of interest, and especially OnStar in that context. We take our visitors to the Light Car, where the personal online assistant is demonstrated live.” Naturally Heiko Cezanne and his team also have information ready for current financing, leasing and other Employee Sales offers.

The number of retirees at the booth is especially high during the week. Among them is a former tool and die maker. He worked at the Rüsselsheim site for a total of 38 years and remains loyal to Opel to this day. After driving a Vectra for many years, the time has come for a new car. After a personal consultation he is still trying to decide between two models. But one thing is clear for the retiree: It has to be another Opel! Cezanne: “The overall response to our booth is outstanding and I am confident we will be here again at the next IAA.”

 


 

“We are a point of contact for active members of the Opel family, for Opel retirees and for trainees.”

– Heiko Cezanne –
Sales Planning, Employee Sales

2015033B12_MG_2957-1bearb

The offering is popular during the visitor days.

03_schmal

 


 

 

 

IAA GOES TO SCHOOL
For the 150th anniversary of vocational training, Opel has distributed 10,000 free tickets to the industry’s leading trade fair to students. 15 classes of school children starting with the eighth grade had the opportunity to immerse themselves deeply in the Astra Galaxy: each day Opel raffled off three exclusive tours of the Opel booth with Opel trainees. A presentation was also given to the students about training opportunities at Opel.

Perfect Ambassador
Look up ‘car girl’ on Wikipedia and there is a good chance you will find a photo of Viktoria Wiedehage. Her eyes sparkle when she talks about painting her rims last weekend. Or about playing the ‘I can tell by the headlights what car that is’ game with her boyfriend while driving in the dark and winning by a mile. The 23-year-old is an Opel trainee for the occupation of Technical Model Builder, gives school classes tours of the IAA booth, talks about her training and inspires students to train with Opel. Who could be better than someone who brings so much passion to the job. All right, she does have one competitor: Dominik Mühlberg, another Technical Model Builder trainee at Opel. With his comprehensive car knowledge, he parries even tricky questions from students of the Immanuel-Kant school about the Ampera. No, not a hybrid vehicle. A range extender. Then an on-the-spot brief presentation! Good job. By the way, the 22-year-old was just as relaxed and hard-nosed outside at the Carrera booth as during the Q&A. He maneuvered the car around the Carrera track in a time of “60 seconds and then some,” qualifying for the nationals of the ‘Carrera Challenge Tour’ at the end of November in Stuttgart, Germany. There hardly seems to be any need to mention that both of them have shortened the three and a half year training by one year. The final examinations are coming up in December and we have our fingers crossed for the car girl and car guy!

 

Azubis3_b01

 

 

03_schmal

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgEyRFzRQsc

↑ For his latest videocast #27, Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann interviewed Jürgen Klopp in the midst of the Astra Galaxy.


 

“The new Astra looks really, really good – and flies like the wind.”

– Jürgen Klopp –
Opel Brand Ambassador

 

03_schmal

 


 

“30 employees worked on the development of the new IntelliLux matrix light for four years.”

– Rouven Haberkorn–
Opel Light Simulation Engineer

Black suit, white shirt, cool pose: The Opel Light Simulation Engineers Philipp Röckl (right) and Rouven Haberkorn.

 

THE LUMINARIES
Black suit, white shirt, cool pose: The Opel Light Simulation Engineers Philipp Röckl and Rouven Haberkorn are the ‘Men in Black’ of the Opel Astra Galaxy. Like the protagonists in the film of the same name, the two have an eye-opening science fiction feature at the ready: IntelliLux matrix light. Visitors beleaguer the installation of screens and light panels. Rouven Haberkorn vividly explains the functionality: two times eight individually controllable light modules linked to the OpelEye camera for intelligent control so that oncoming traffic is not blinded, even with the high beams on. Philipp Röckl demonstrates the functionality by stepping on individual light panels set into the floor. The beam of light on the wall monitor changes depending on which panel he is standing on. “The effect is incredible, you really have to try it for yourself,” says Haberkorn, who has already experienced the system ‘live’ several times during validation trials. “This is a new dimension of seeing in the dark,” he is convinced. Unlike the science fiction features of ‘Men in Black,’ it can already be ordered with the new Astra.

 

03_schmal

THE Shopping Queen
“Should I take the gray shirt or maybe the yellow one? And just look at that nice belt!” Among experts one calls Sandra Jablonski’s current state a ‘shopping frenzy.’ This heady state of ‘wanting’ overcomes the Stuttgart native in the midst of the Astra Galaxy at the Opel Shop, triggered by the 40 new articles added to the Brand Collection especially for the IAA. Yes, she has always driven an Opel and loves the Rüsselsheim car manufacturer, however “I would not wear clothes with the Opel lightning bolt on them because of that.” Normally. “But this stuff is marvelous. So stylish. Look at this shirt, what a great cut. The lightning bolt discreetly on the side,” she says as she pulls on the shirt, only to announce: “Perfect, I’ll take it!”

It’s all in the bag: Sandra Jablonski after her shopping frenzy in the Opel Shop.

 


 

“This stuff is marvelous. So stylish. Look at this shirt, what a great cut. The lightning bolt discreetly on the side. Perfect, I’ll take it!”

– Sandra Jablonski –
Customer at the Opel-Shop

 

01_schmal

 

 

Last updated September 2015

 

 

Texts: Eric Scherer, Felicia Kaul, Tina Henze; Photos: Rudolf Mehrhaff (Asterion), Andreas Liebschner (Asterion), Florian Heurich