Auto blogSat, 01 Nov 2014
With his shock of white hair and penchant for wearing gloves and black sunglasses, fashion mogul Karl Lagerfeld isn't a hard guy to pick out of a crowd. But while he is best known for designing haute couture, Lagerfeld also has a passion for photography and his cat, Choupette. Both of them are being featured in bizarre advertising for the Opel Corsa in Europe, and a new, making-of video makes the whole process look even weirder.
Choupette, which has its own Twitter page, is moved around the Corsa, and Choupette going from looking vaguely scared to occasionally bored and even just angry at everything that's going on. It's hard to imagine pictures of a kitty selling many Opel hatchbacks. However, everyone here appears to be taking the photo shoot very seriously, and the stern mood just makes the proceedings seem that much more absurd.
Of course, if the Internet has proven anything, people love looking at cats, and getting Lagerfeld to shoot the car makes sense. He has done similar advertising before but has moved down the price ladder with each new job. In 2007, he shot a calendar of the Audi R8 exclusively for owners of the supercar. The designer returned a few years later with Volkswagen to advertise German special editions of the Polo, Golf and Golf Plus.
Ever look at a concept car from a foreign auto marque like Opel and wonder what relevance it will have to you as an American consumer? Well, we'll tell you: at least as far as the Opel Monza concept goes, it could mean a lot.
Speaking with Automotive News at the Paris Motor Show, Opel chief Karl-Thomas Neumann said, "You will see the Monza when you see the next Insignia." And the Insignia, we needn't point out, is essentially ported over to American showrooms as the Buick Regal.
The relationship between the Regal and Insignia only stands to grow closer as Opel design chief Mark Adams has also been charged with tightening the bonds between the two automakers positioned on opposite shores of the Atlantic. Adams also intends to imbue the next Insignia with more "premium brand values" in order to "add polish to the brand." Which in turn means that the Regal will be designed to look more upscale, too.
Opel's slinky answer to the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo debuted on Thursday at the Paris Motor Show, ahead of its launch in European markets late this year. The long-running Corsa - 32 years and counting - getting its first major refresh in eight years.
Opel dialed up the design for the 2015 Corsa, and the new front end has chiseled headlights with LED daytime runners, a trapezoidal grille and a prominent Opel badge. In back, there are wide split taillights and sculpted fenders. The Corsa will come in three- and five-door configurations.
The Corsa will offer a wide range of engines, including a three-cylinder, two four-cylinders and a diesel. Opel markets the Corsa for young families, and pricing starts around 11,980 euros, or about $15,000, in Germany.
We had a chance to drive the tiny Opel Adam following the Frankfurt Motor Show last fall, and what we found was a cute little city car that's decently fun, but hardly sporty. But that's about to change, as Opel has thrown a dose of sport at its plucky little runabout, and the finished result, the Adam S, makes its debut here at the Paris Motor Show.
Under the hood, the hatch's 1.4-liter inline-four gets turbocharged boost, increasing output from 87 horsepower to a healthy 150. Opel is supporting all that extra power with revised suspension geometry, and an improved braking system from its OPC division. It's added a bit of style, too, with larger wheels, an aero kit, and a contrasting red roof (Opel calls it "Red 'n' Roll" design).
This little guy looks like a ton of fun. Maybe Opel will let us drive this turbo wonder at next year's Frankfurt expo...
General Motors makes plenty of performance machinery, but it isn't huge in hot hatches. The closest you can get Stateside is the Chevy Sonic RS, and, while a perfectly reasonable vehicle in its own right, let's just say it doesn't quite keep pace with its European and Japanese rivals. GM does make hot hatches, it just usually leaves them up to its Opel division to sell overseas. Like the new Opel Adam S.
Previewed at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, Opel has now announced the sportier version of its stylish city car to launch at the upcoming Paris Motor Show next month. The heart of the pocket rocket, pictured here with the optional Red n' Roll appearance package, is a 1.4-liter turbo four pumping out 150 horsepower - over 100 hp per liter and 50 percent more than the naturally aspirated version. That also puts it out ahead of the aforementioned Sonic RS (138 hp) and splits the difference between the Fiat 500 Turbo (sold as the base Abarth overseas) and the full-on 500 Abarth (595 in Euro speak).
Other upgrades, which you can read more about in the press release below, include a six-speed manual transmission, enhanced suspension, 18-inch wheels, OPC brakes, an upgraded body kit and an interior with Recaro buckets. All of which adds up to a 0-62 time of 8.5 seconds - which would see the Opel Adam S (and its Vauxhall counterpart) struggling to keep up with the competition, but leaving lesser versions of GM's stylish Euro hatch in the dust. Here's hoping a hotter OPC version is in the works.
There are many vehicles we'd consider taking racing. Even on a cross-country rally as punishing as the Dakar. But a Buick Encore? That's not one that would enter our motorsports-based consciousness. Yet it's basically what General Motors is entering in the South American rally raid this year, and you're looking at it.
Unveiled at the Moscow Motor Show, this rally machine is based on (or at least billed as) an Opel Mokka - the name that GM's European brand applies to the vehicle Americans know as the Encore, Buick's subcompact crossover. Only it's obviously been extensively modified. It's got a ten-inch raised suspension, a 137-gallon fuel tank, carbon-fiber bodywork and... hold on, we're sure we're missing something here. Oh, right: a 6.2-liter V8 kicking out 340 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox.
In other words, this is not the same Encore (or Mokka) you can pick up at your local Buick, Opel or Vauxhall dealership. It's not even close. It's not even recognizable as such, really. It was unveiled alongside a more sedate Opel Mokka Moscow Edition and a slew of other local debuts for the Opel brand that you can read more about in the (translated and original) Russian press release below.
The affordable four-seat convertible has become a largely forgotten genre in the States, especially with the death of the Chrysler 200 Convertible. Of course, there are still premium options from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz - not to mention more overtly performance-oriented droptop pony cars from Chevrolet and Ford - but if you want an affordable cruiser, you're kind of out of luck. That may be about to change, however, with renewed rumors of the Opel Cascada (pictured above) making it across the Atlantic wearing a Buick badge.
According to GM Inside News, Buick showed off the Cascada to US dealers last week, with renewed word that the company plans to bring it over from Europe for the 2016 model year. The US version will reportedly be practically identical to its German cousin in terms of styling, but the powertrain underneath is less certain. According to GMI, it may use the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that is available in Europe with either 168 horsepower or 197 hp.
The Cascada rides on GM's Delta II platform, which also underpins the Verano, and the latest rumor certainly provides even more evidence that the convertible is probably on the way. Speculation about the droptop started when GM CEO Dan Akerson said last year that the car was on his wish list to bring over. Then, the US trademark on the name was reserved earlier this year, and the release was speculated for sometime in early 2016.
The Buick Regal is based on the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia, a pair of sedans from General Motors' European and British outfits. In fact, over 46,000 Regals from model years 2010 and 2011 were screwed together on the same lines as the Insignia twins, before GM's Oshawa, Ontario factory took over production fully. Considering this closeness, rumors that claim the next-generation Regal - due for 2017 - could move back to Europe aren't terribly surprising. Here's why, according to Automotive News.
Oshawa is home to three other vehicles, aside from the Regal - the Chevrolet Camaro, Impala rental queen and the Cadillac XTS. We already know next-gen Camaro production is headed to Lansing, MI, and that the fleet-only Impala will (finally!) die in 2016. As for the XTS, as AN explains it, sales are so slow that GM will either kill it or just shuffle its production volume elsewhere.
Taken along with the fact that Unifor, the Canadian labor union repping workers at the Oshawa factory, claim GM hasn't made any guarantees about future production at the nearly 60-year-old factory, it seems fairly clear that the Regal's current factory is going to be put out to pasture.
Though its brand portfolio may have shrunk in recent years with the loss of Oldsmobile, Saturn, Pontiac and Hummer, General Motors still sells its wares around the world under a wide array of brands: Chevy, Buick, Cadillac and GMC in its home market, Holden in Australia, and a whole mess of joint-venture brands in China. In Europe, however, it's all about Opel, with Vauxhall tackling the UK market with a nearly identical product lineup but a different badge. And it's those two brands through which GM has just revealed its new Euro-centric hatchback.
Representing the fifth-generation model for Opel and the fourth for Vauxhall (which badged the first-gen model as a Nova) is this new Corsa, replacing a now eight-year-old model. Set to be revealed at the Paris Motor Show in October, the Corsa represents GM's assault at the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo in the European market and slots into both brands' lineups in between the smaller Adam and the larger Astra.
It's based on a heavily revised version of the GM-Fiat Small platform that underpinned the model it replaces, not to mention a variety of other products from Opel, Vauxhall, Fiat and Alfa Romeo. Power options center around a new 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine that uses a balance shaft (unique among three-cylinder engines) to reduce noise, vibration and harshness, as well as a turbocharger, direct injection and stop/start ignition to maximize output and efficiency. It'll be available in either 90- or 115-horsepower guises, and is joined by a 1.2- and 1.4-liter fours as well as a 1.3-lier diesel. Buyers will also be able to choose between three- and five-door body-styles, with design cues obviously borrowed from the more stylish Adam city car.
A refresh to Buick's popular Verano sedan appears to be nigh, thanks to these spy photos that show the tweaked four-door testing in Germany.
As with the current Verano, the refreshed model will have a great deal in common with its European platform-mates, the Vauxhall/Opel Astra. Each car rides on General Motors's Delta II platform. Unlike the current car, though, the refreshed model's styling could lean more heavily towards its European roots, if these photos are any indication.
Despite its commonality with the Astra Sedan, the Verano has featured its own unique styling since arriving in the US back in 2011 as a 2012 model, with distinct fascias at both the front and back, as wells its own headlight and taillight designs. The two cars were still rebadged vehicles, but it was more subtle than it will be in 2015, when the refreshed Verano arrives. Astra-like elements are expected to dominate, particularly in regards to the headlights and taillights. That said, trademark Buick styling features will remain, like the waterfall grille. Really, then, the 2016 Verano won't be unlike the Regal - a rebadged Vauxhall/Opel Insignia, aside from a few very small styling details.