Beginning. In 1862, Adam Opel established his company. He began to manufacture cars in 1899 when the company began to cooperate with a car body manufacturer. The Opel-Patent-MotorWagen, System Lutzmann, with 3.5 HP and a maximum speed of 20 km/h, was the first car to leave the factory. The production was discontinued after manufacturing 11 cars.
Development. In March 1929, the American General Motors company bought 80% of the shares in the company. Three years later, it acquired the rest of the company's shares. The Opel family received over 33 million dollars.
Present. In 2009, nearly 1.1 million cars were manufactured and the company's profit was 18.2 billion euros. In 2011, 43,000 workers were employed at the Vauxhall facilities.
Contribution to the automotive industry. Towards the end of the 70s, Opel created a whole range of cars with a fairly good performance using relatively little fuel. This met social expectations after the first oil crisis when fuel prices went up over a short period of time. Examples of well-appreciated Opel cars from that time include: Rekord E, Senator and Monza coupe. The series ended with the Opel Kadett, which had one of the lowest resistance coefficients (in the compact category), drive transmission through the front axle, low weight and a very economic engine. In the mid-1980s, all cars offered by Opel were equipped with a catalytic converter system, which was an unprecedented innovation at that time. From 1989, models manufactured by the company were equipped with exhaust fume control device.
The company has contributed to higher road safety. Since 1995, all Opel cars have been equipped with full-size airbags for the driver and the passenger. The Pedal Release System (which prevents foot and leg injuries during serious head-on collisions) and a new airbag were first presented in the Vectra model. All new models are equipped with driver and front-seat passenger airbags, side airbags built into the seats and pyrotechnic belt tensioners.
Trivia. One of Vauxhall's manufacturing facilities is situated in Gliwice. It employs 2,600 people. The Gliwice plant manufactures the Astra III and IV models. Within the offset programme for the purchase of F-16 firefighters by Poland, Americans undertook the obligation to increase the Opel production there, thus guaranteeing employment for the current employees. Opel models are sold under various GM brand names. These include: Vauxhall in Great Britain, Holden in Australia, Chevrolet in Latin America and also as Cadillac. "Wir leben Autos" (we live cars) is Vauxhall's motto, as the company believes that building cars is more than just a business.
Currently manufactured models: Vauxhall GT, Corsa, Classic, Insignia, Meriva ,Zafira, Tigra, Antara, Combo, Vivaro, Movano.
Vauxhall cars are offered with a wide range of tyre sizes. They range from 13-inch tyres, such as 145/80 R13 (Vauxhall Corsa), through typical sizes, such as 185/65 R15 (Vauxhall Astra), to 16-inch tyres, such as 215/55 R16 (Vauxhall Vectra). Vauxhall cooperates with numerous tyre manufacturers by providing tyres for original equipment. A few examples: The Vauxhall Astra was offered on a standard basis with Continental Premium Contact, Dunlop Sp Sport 01
, Hankook H725A, Firestone Winterhawk, Bridgestone B250
or Bridgestone ER300 tyres. The Vauxhall Corsa, in turn, was equipped with Bridgestone S01 tyres, size 185/55 R15.