Opel has succeeded over and over again in combining rather conventional technology and smart design. The probably best proof is the Opel GT from 1968 which hides simple Kadett / Rekord technology under its body. At the end of the decade Opel again reaches highest production figures not only in Germany. In 1970 the 10 millionth Opel leaves the factory. Numerous positive competition results and world records, e.g., with Diesel-GTs strengthen the trend.
Opel invents front-wheel drive rather late, while the company is in a leading position regarding catalyst with A/F control. In the meantime, additional plants have been opened in Eisenach/Germany and Poland. One fills gaps e.g., with the cross-country vehicles and looks increasingly after the utility vehicle sector. Considering the situation of Opel today (2012) can hardly be imagined, that once it went so well with Opel and VW, for example was a few weeks before the bankruptcy at the time of the inauguration of Ferdinand Piech (1993).
One stated serious management errors. A descendant of Opel once pointed out that it is a very tall tower in which the GM management resides and one can not only look far to the United States, but also to Canada. You might get then a much too global view and lose the sense for important differences. Obviously one can offer Europe not the same, possibly something to simple automotive technology like America or Asia, where there the demands well increase already.
With Piech connects Opel, the name Jose Ignacio Lopez (en Arriortúa), too. He switches to VW, after having been successful at Opel with the almost merciless pressures of supplier costs, according to the local managers. At that time, you can still accuse VW Lopez and his staff have taken important documents and thus VW provides insight into market advantages of Opel. VW has paid to avoid a conviction, even a considerable sum and had to buy GM parts.
Nevertheless, the success is only short term because there are quality problems, to name only fire-prone Astras at the petrol station. Also one saves with the creation of new painting techniques and instead plans to build similar vehicles worldwide. Opel cars be talked about because of rust and product recalls. The sales are plunging. Advertising campaigns be made with the slogan 'We have understood'.
Then there is the debacle of Sintra, a van designed in USA which turns out towards European crash tests as woefully inadequate. Once again it appears that the standards of sellable cars in the world are different. Long-term success is not achievable in the short term in the automotive industry. Instead of staying power is needed. Piech shows the way at Volkswagen as he tries to establish the Passat in the upper middle class. Opel is fighting instead with the shortness of the management. 05/12