Double celebrations at Opel

Opel CEO, Florian Huettl, speaks with German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, about the fully electric Opel Astra at the Rüsselsheim plant. In the background from left to right: Stellantis Chairman, John Elkann; Stellantis CEO, Carlos Tavares; Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Opel Automobile GmbH, Xavier Chéreau.

125 years of automobile production and 60 years of Opel Design Studio.

The year 2024 is an extraordinary anniversary year for Opel; the German brand has been producing automobiles for 125 years. First founded by Adam Opel in Russelsheim, Germany in 1862, since 1899, the carmaker has made mobility affordable for millions of people and has continuously inspired the public with innovative models.

Furthermore, exactly sixty years ago, in 1964, the Opel Design Studio opened in Russelsheim, the first automobile design centre of its kind in Europe. To mark the momentous occasions, on Saturday, June 8th, 2024, Opel celebrated the two major anniversaries with an open day, attended by over 7,000 customers, employees and guests of honour, including German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, and Prime Minister of Hesse, Boris Rhein.

In keeping with the anniversary motto, ‘Forever forward since 1899’, event visitors were treated to peeks at models from Opel’s celebrated past, together with current and indeed future models, illustrating the constantly evolving design philosophy of the Opel brand and allowing them to experience first-hand how Opel combines automotive tradition with a sustainable future.

Indeed, the historical home of the blitz brand in Russelsheim will transform into a green-campus project from 2024, and armed with a consistent electrification strategy that will see a battery-electric variant of every Opel model on sale by the end of 2024, the major highpoint to the day was the public premiere of the all-new Frontera Electric and all-new Grandland Electric.

In attendance, Florian Huettl, Opel CEO, said: “125 years of automobile production at Opel – we not only celebrate this anniversary with our visitors, but also show how Opel has always helped shape the constant change in the automotive industry and is now positioned for the future. With the new Opel Frontera and the new Opel Grandland, we will offer our customers a fully electric variant of every Opel model from this year onwards. All this reflects our anniversary motto ‘Forever forward since 1899’.”

Demonstrating 125 years of innovation, pop-up exhibitions showcased the very first Opel, the 1899 Opel Patent Motorwagen System Lutzmann, of which only 65 vehicles were made, alongside bestsellers and legends such as the Opel Kapitän, GT, Manta, Calibra, and indeed electric models such as the Opel Ampera, first revealed in 2012.

The Opel Design Studio exhibition presented six decades of Opel design excellence, from the extravagant 1965 Experimental GT to innovative concepts from the more recent past such as the GT X Experimental, the sensational Manta GSe and the visionary Opel Experimental. Each of these celebrated concept models see their design features mirrored in the current Opel model line-up.

Other highlights to the event included a factory tour at the Russelsheim site, for visitors to see where the current Opel Astra model is produced. Motorsport fans could sign up for co-drive laps in the exciting Opel Corsa Rally Electric, whilst visitors aged 15 and over experienced the Opel Rocks Electric on another track. Younger visitors enjoyed a dedicated kid’s corner. An open-air historic car gathering, gave visitors the opportunity to display their own prized vintage Opel models.

Opel is part of Stellantis NV, and together with its British sister brand Vauxhall, the company is represented in more than 60 countries around the globe, continuing to enter new international markets. Armed with its consistent electrification strategy to secure sustainable success and ensure that the future mobility demands of customers are met, the German brand looks forward now to helping Stellantis achieve its target of becoming a carbon net zero company by 2038, as outlined in the company’s Dare Forward 2030 long-term strategic plan.