Opel Corsa: Not Even 30 and Already a Millionaire 11 Times Over.

One thing’s certain: in the book of automotive history, the success of the Opel Corsa will fill a thick chapter of its own. And the approximately 11 million models sold are just one indication of why.

Jan 27, 2011

Four successful generations since 1982

One thing’s certain: in the book of automotive history, the success of the Opel Corsa will fill a thick chapter of its own. And the approximately 11 million models sold are just one indication of why.

The latest models all but guarantee a continuation of the success story that has lasted since 1982, when the first Corsa, positioned below the Kadett, also put Opel in the modern “small segment”. The current Corsa of the fourth generation further refines the recipe for success that has developed along the years: great technology, excellent quality and reliability at an affordable price, and a sporty, sexy design. These qualities have always made the Corsa popular.

“A key characteristic of the Opel brand is what we call the democratization of intelligent innovations. All throughout its history, the Corsa often introduced to a broader range of buyers innovative and practical technological features that were expected only in more expensive car classes. And it combined them with a sense of fun and freshness,” says Nick Reilly, President of GM Europe und CEO of Opel/Vauxhall.

Accessible innovation is a recurrent theme throughout the four generations of Opel’s popular small car.

Opel introduced what was at the time the smallest fuel-injected engine with the Corsa A as well the first three-way catalytic converter in a small car. The Corsa B debuted full-size driver and passenger airbags in its segment in 1993. And the Corsa C launched in 2001 was the first to bring active front head restraints, side head airbags and the Easytronic automated manual transmission to the small car class. Since 2006, the current Corsa D has boasted technology that includes the innovative, fully integrated FlexFix bicycle carrier system, halogen Advanced Forward Lighting and a heated steering wheel.

Fun factor for happy drivers and fashion-conscious Corsa buyers

The “fathers” of the Opel Corsa didn’t just focus on the democratization of clever technology; they also acknowledged the fact that young people are the most passionate Corsa buyers.

The fourth generation has been given more agile handling, making it even more fun to drive – not only in its sportiest versions. Fun also comes from the Corsa’s appearance. Some years, more than 60 percent of all German Corsa buyers were women under 30 – a clientele that is as fashion-conscious as it is price-conscious. In addition to special editions that have been launched along the lifecycle of the different generations, the new Corsa has been given an array of individualized models in the Color Line. It started in 2009 and now includes the Color Edition, Color Race and Linea pack. The Corsa Color Line Series already accounts for about 20 percent of all Corsas sold in Germany where it debuted with its primarily bright, two-tone color schemes and many extras.

Advertising campaigns for the Opel Corsa have also contributed to give it its fun factor. They have always focused more on the car’s relatively young customers. Over the years, advertising spots have relied on very informal methods to highlight the car’s unique features – right up to the five puppets of the fictional rock band C’MONS in 2006. Tom & Jerry kicked off the untraditional campaigns with Jerry the mouse fleeing from tomcat Tom in a Corsa A. The Flintstones made a memorable cameo in Opel advertising with father Fred cruising around the Stone Age in a Corsa B. The 1995 advertising campaign “Eventually it gets everyone”, which even included (a double of) the British queen, became one of the best-loved series of TV spots.

Successful spokeswomen: from Steffi Graf to Lena Meyer-Landrut

Corsa ads featuring young, successful women have also proved very popular. Tennis pro Steffi Graf appeared alongside the Corsa A and supermodels Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Tatjana Patitz, and Kate Moss made many features of the new Corsa B memorable in 1993 with the “Supermodel” campaign.

Today, 2010 Eurovision Song Contest Winner Lena Meyer-Landrut of Germany is the active spokeswomen for Opel and the Corsa. Decisive for choosing Lena as Opel’s brand ambassador was her powerful style, her extraordinary talent and the passion she brings to her music. The long-term cooperation with Lena includes supporting her on the way to Eurovision Song Contest 2011. Lena will in turn support Opel as a Brand Ambassador with various brand and product initiatives.

“Somehow I’m really proud of the Corsa – it really talks to me,” Lena said during the Corsa 2011 unveiling. Alain Visser, Opel Vice President Sales, Marketing & Aftersales: “With the new Corsa, we’re once again emphasizing our desire to also offer attractive and affordable products for young buyers.”

Opel Corsa History:

  • 1982 – 1992: Opel Corsa A, total production 3.1 million cars
  • 1993 – 2000: Opel Corsa B, total production 3.8 million cars
  • 2000 – 2006. Opel Corsa C, total production 2.3 million cars
  • July 2006: Fourth generation Corsa world premiere in London
  • September 2006: Fourth generation Corsa available at dealerships
  • Fourth generation Corsa total production up to Oct 2010: 1.6 million cars
  • January 2010: The Corsa D has the lowest defect rate among all cars tested in Germany’s DEKRA Defect Report 2010
  • February 2010: New engine line-up, optimized chassis and steering
  • January 2011: New design with a fresh, sporty look, and new 1.3 CDTI ecoFLEX version with Start/Stop and reduced fuel consumption at 3.5 liter/100 km (94 g/km CO2)