20 April 2022

Opel heads for its 160th birthday

Opel will be celebrating its 160th birthday in August of this year, marking a lifetime of many automotive innovations, writes Brian Byrne.

The company was founded by Adam Opel as sewing machine maker, and from there to making bicycles in which it became a global leader. Opel became one of the early pioneers in automobile manufacturing from 1899, and today is heading to be a maker of only electric vehicles from 2028 onwards.

The first German carmaker to develop large-scale production technology, Opel's first assembly-line car rolled off in 1924. 

Opel has been involved in electric car development since 1971 when the company's Electro GT set six speed records at Hockenheim. In 2012 the Ampera was European Car of the Year. The Ampera-e followed in 2016, and the range of electrified Opel models, plug-in hybrids and battery-electric, today spans Corsa, Mokka, Grandland, Combo Life, Zafira Life and the full Opel van range, with the Vivaro-e mid-sized panel van crowned Irish Van of the Year 2022 and enjoying top position in electric van sales in Ireland year to date. By 2024 all Opel models will be available in electrified variants.