Time For The Essentials

In terms of horsepower, the exhibition space, and the models on display, the Opel exhibit at the 68th Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) isn’t dealing in superlatives – but it was never intended to. The saying “sometimes, less is more” gets right to the heart of the concept, and it’s what CEO Michael Lohscheller says in reference to the Opel stand. The company is displaying fewer models than last time, but these twelve vehicles are all the more innovative. The “less is more” concept was once  shaped by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, an architect and proponent of the Bauhaus style – a concept of art and architecture to which the Opel exhibition space is dedicated. We’ve collected ten impressions from “OPELHAUS 120.”

Design on Display

 

The Bauhaus concept first came into existence 100 years ago and still fascinates people around the world today – partly because the minds behind this influential stylistic era had complete faith in progress. And because this year’s IAA marks the start of a new chapter for the Rüsselsheim-based manufacturer, its exhibit in Hall 11 isn’t just any old display. Dubbed “OPELHAUS 120,” it calls to mind the clear lines of the Bauhaus style, embodying the motto “Opel goes electric!” the company presents itself as a German brand with a strong sense of tradition and pride in its “120 years of carmaking.” The brand celebrates efficiency, impressive design, and e-mobility – and makes them available to everyone.

 

↑ The “e-Path” consists of the Corsa-e Rally on the ramp, the Corsa-e, and the Elektro-GT. Sustainability is also part of the exhibit concept: The individual components of the modular system will be reused for future events.

“I want to make it clear to our visitors that with the Corsa-e, we’ve developed an electric vehicle that they can use the same way they would use any other car.”

 

The Normal One

 

“Normal” is a word that Frank Jordan uses often when he talks to journalists and professional attendees at the IAA about the Corsa-e. “The Opel electric car looks like a normal car, drives like a normal car,” says the Director Advanced Engineering. Why is that important to him? “I want to make it clear to our visitors that we’ve developed an electric vehicle that they can use the same way they would use any other car.” You don’t have to be an electrician to drive one, he says; you don’t have to understand what recuperation is or what it does. “You can just get in and enjoy driving it.” The Corsa configurator also contributes to this simplicity, he adds. You choose the external color first, then the interior and related options, “and not until you reach the end of the process do you select your drive system – electric or conventional, that is.” And last but not least, the Corsa-e is also produced on the same assembly line as gasoline and diesel engines – totally “normal.”

↑ Elegance and cleverly designed technology: The Corsa-e is the focus of attention at “OPELHAUS 120.”

Not a Quiet Minute

 

Apparently, four times as many people prefer to watch a video about a given subject, rather than reading about it. OK, OK, fine – for everyone who prefers their information in video format, here are the 2019 IAA highlights from “OPELHAUS 120” as a 60-second optical sequence of moving pictures with sound, encoded in electronic form:

 

↑ Video: Best of „Opel auf der IAA 2019“

 

Honest Efficiency

 

Lower weight, less HP, lower CO2 emissions: With the new Astra, Opel proves just how efficient models with a combustion engine can be. “You can be sensible and still enjoy driving – it’s possible to do both,” says Matthias Alt, Chief Engineer for Gasoline Engines. Five of the seven performance levels listed in the vehicle registration papers for the new Astra indicate a CO2 value of 99 grams per kilometer. “The engineers worked on every single engine component to achieve that result,” Alt says. The three-cylinder engines are all made of aluminum and are now about 100 screws lighter. A louver in the radiator grille closes when the engine needs cooling, which optimizes the aerodynamics. All engines already meet the Euro 6d standard, which won’t go into effect until 2021. Matthias Alt: “The latest Astra is the most efficient one of all time.”

↑ It’s what’s inside that counts: The engineers managed to reduce the new Astra’s CO2 emissions by up to 21 percent compared to its predecessor. The new generation of three-cylinder engines was developed in Rüsselsheim.

Talking Shop

 

“OPELHAUS 120” isn’t the only place boasting a whole host of world premieres; the associated Opel Shop also has exciting new items on offer for the IAA. The Corsa-e and Corsa-e Rally race around the track here – or rather, 1:10-scale model electric RC versions of them do. We asked Racers Paradise about the RC cars. “The Rally version is a one-off, but the Corsa-e will be available to order starting in November,” says owner Markus Knott. Just in time for Christmas! And speaking of that festive season: A clever gift idea caught our eye in the Opel shop – cookie cutters in the shape of a Corsa. If you’re not quite ready to start baking yet, you can send the Corsa-e as a postcard or take it home with you as a 1:43-scale model. Classics like the GT, Manta A, and Kadett GT/E are also available as postcards or as minimalist, modern posters. To find the shop, make your way past the cluster of people and take a look to the left behind the Corsa GT.

 

↑ The RC model of the Corsa-e is available to order starting in November, but the Rally version is unfortunately just a one-off (top photo). The vintage 90s-look shirts and sweaters from the Opel shop are particularly stylish (right-hand photo).

“The technology, price, and range of the Corsa-e won me over – and it looks amazing, too!”

Scaling Up

 

Dominik Homberg has actually purchased the Corsa-e four times: in all four colors currently available, as 1:43-scale models. He leaves the Opel shop in “OPELHAUS 120” with a broad grin on his face. “I’ll line them up very neatly in my glass display case at home.” But that’s just the beginning: The young man is already completely certain that he’ll be purchasing the full-scale version of the new Opel electric vehicle. “Power orange is totally my color,” says the Opel fan, beaming. He is a member of the “Blitz Crew Koblenz” and currently drives an Astra GTC. “The technology, price, and range of the Corsa-e won me over – and it looks amazing, too!”

↑ It’s all about electromobility: The new Corsa-e, the Corsa-e Rally, and the Elektro-GT from 1971 (from left to right) are the focus of the Opel display.

Corsa Makes an Impression

 

The wing mirrors in an elegant carbon look draw the eye, the red logo bar creates a contrast, while the clips on the rims elicit an unmistakable “I’ve got-to-have-this!” feeling. The new Corsa knows how to make an impression. “The things that Opel fans already love about the ADAM will soon be possible with the new Corsa,” says product manager Andrew Higgins. The compact car is about to become the new customization champion at Opel. Starting in December, Opel dealers will carry accessories for the interior as well as the exterior. “Everyone can create their very own personalized Corsa, adding special features like colored bars on the dashboard or a customized gearshift knob,” says Higgins. Now that’s #YourCorsa.

↑ From the wing mirrors to the gearshift knob: The new Corsa offers numerous options for customization.

“The Corsa is the new customization champion.”

Influencers Follow the Corsa-e

 

Alongside numerous media representatives, six models visited the Opel exhibit – the influencers featured in the reveal video for the Corsa-e. Opel managers subsequently invited SophieMartaMarisaTeresaNick, and Daniel to “OPELHAUS 120” as a thank-you for their participation. And naturally, they didn’t want to miss out on the world premiere of the electric car, and they posed for lots of gorgeous shots. You can find more pictures from the event on Opel’s Instagram.

↑ Visiting the Opel exhibit and featuring in the Corsa-e video released on 4 June: Daniel (upper left-hand photo), Nick and Sophie (left-hand photo), and Teresa.

Solutions From a Single Source

 

Obviously, car batteries sometimes need to be recharged, and to do that, you always need the right cable, or maybe your own wallbox. However, connections and charging speeds vary not just within the EU, but even within individual countries. Marketing manager Frank Leibold explains to IAA attendees what new adopters need to know – and that with Opel, you should always opt for solutions from a single source. “All of our plugs and adapters are synchronized with the vehicle and with each other – and if something doesn’t work, all you have to do is get in touch with your contact at the company.” And only Opel offers a universal charger, which Leibold considers the Swiss army knife of charging devices. The universal charging cable always works, everywhere.

↑ Elegant: The Opel Wallbox for at-home charging looks stunning.

 

“With our universal charger, you’ll be prepared for anything.”

 

Test Your Strength 2.0

 

“Jump-E” is a popular attraction at “OPELHAUS 120,” and it doesn’t even require a hammer. The force you apply to it comes from your own body weight. Jump as hard as you can onto the little platform to trigger a sound effect and light up a big “E” for “electric.”

↑ Electrifying challenge: The point of “Jump-E” is to light up the “E.”


September 2019

Photos: Andreas Liebschner, Axel Wierdemann, Michael Krosny, Christoph Adam