Key dates, history of Opel and Vauxhall – USA TODAY
DETROIT — General Motors’ announcement Monday that it is parting ways with its Opel and Vauxhall brands after nearly 90 years of part ownership marks a historic decision that changes the complexion of the European automotive industry.
Here is a look at Opel and Vauxhall. First, someÂ key facts:
â¢Headquartered in RÃ¼sselsheim, Opel operates 12 plants and four development and test centers in eight European countries.
â¢Opel employs around 34,500 people in Europe, with more than 16,500 in Germany.
â¢Opel and Vauxhall sell vehicles in over 50 countries.
â¢In 2016 Opel/Vauxhall sold more than 1.1 million passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.
â¢GM Europe reported a pre-tax net loss of $863 million (813 million euro).for 2016 on revenue of $19.9 billion (18.7 billion euro).
1862: After years of employment as a journeyman metalworker, Adam Opel goes into business in his hometown of RÃ¼sselsheim, Germany. There, he builds his first sewing machine, laying the foundation for the Opel company.
1886: Opel begins making bicycles.
1899: Opel begins making cars.
1903: British automaker Vauxhall begins producing its first car, a six horsepower vehicle with its slow-revving single cylinder engine and a wood and steel chassis.
1910: The Vauxhall Prince Henry was enjoyed by wealthy customers who regarded sporting motoring as something of an adventure coupled with an interest in new technology.
1920: The first works council is established at Opel.
1925: GM buys Vauxhall for $2.5 million in a deal encouraged by GM President Alfred P. Sloan. The first Vauxhall made under GM was a short wheelbase 21 horsepower model.
1928: With a market share of 37.5 percent, Opel is by far the largest German carmaker. In preparation for an alliance with General Motors, the company is converted into a listed stock corporation.
1929:Â General Motors acquires 80% of shares in the company Adam Opel AG for just under $26 million, becoming majority stockholder.
1931: The RÃ¼sselsheim plant builds the first âpeopleâs automobileâ, an affordable vehicle equipped with a 1.2-liter engine. Between 1931 and 1935, 100,000 units are built â a volume never before reached with a single model in Germany.
GM acquires the remaining 20% of shares in the Opel corporation.Opel becomes the first carmaker to establish a school for customer service training.
1938: The Vauxhall Ten-Four was the first British car with unibody construction.
1939: Four years of work was compressed into one in the design and development of Vauxhallâs war-time production tank â the Churchill Marks I â III. The Mark III Churchill of 1942 was the only British tank whose armor could withstand the German Tiger tankâs 88mm tungsten carbide shot.
1940: Production of the one-millionth Opel, a KapitÃ¤n model. In October, a directive from the Nazi regime brings passenger-car production to a standstill. In addition to truck models, including four-wheel drive and track versions, military equipment such as landing gear, cockpits, and fuel tanks for aircraft etc. are produced.
1948: The RÃ¼sselsheim plant resumes production of the KapitÃ¤n, which enjoys a popular comeback.
1959: Production of Frigidaire household refrigerators ends.
1972: With a market share of 20.4%, Opel is the largest German automobile manufacturer.
1975: The Vauxhall Cavalier, one of the brands most successful models, is launched.
1991: The Opel Astra is launched.
1998: New corporate headquarters are established in RÃ¼sselsheim: the Adam Opel Building is inaugurated by German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
2006: GM Europe opens a new European Design Center in RÃ¼sselsheim.
2009: The Opel Ampera, the cousin of the extended-range electric vehicle Chevrolet Volt, is presented at the Geneva Motor Show.
Sources: Opel and Vauxhall web sites, GM annual report.