Adam Opel was no stranger to new machines as he began building revolutionary machines such as the sewing machine and the bicycle. However, it was in 1899 that he ventured into a new industry, the car industry. Before the turn of the
century even took place, Opel already had his own car factory in Sachsen Anhalt, Germany to produce vehicles.
In order to increase their buyers and expand the business, the Opel brothers included motorcycles into their line of production in 1901. Opel had intentions of building more affordable and reliable vehicles to offer to the public. In 1902, Adam and his son launched their first car model at the Hamburg motor show, the 10/12 hp model.
Success was nothing new to Opel, and by 1906 the brothers had already produced their 1,000th vehicle. However, their big breakthrough came in 1906 with the release of a vehicle that became known as the Doctor’s Car. Its reliability and robustness was favored by many, especially doctor’s who made long journeys. With the success of the Doctor’s Car and many other models, Opel had become the largest German manufacturer of motor vehicles in 1914.
The 1920’s proved to be just as successful for Opel, especially because of their sales approach. In 1929, they became the first German automotive company to establish an insurance company and a company for financing installment sales. As time went on, the Opel brothers began looking for a partner to hand over the company to. In March 1929 an agreement was reached and General Motors (GM) took over a majority of the shares of Opel.
By the mid-1930’s the company was Europe’s largest producer of automobiles and in 1935 Opel built more than 100,000 vehicles in just one year. Their connection with GM increased their international sales as well, with new bases being established in Japan, China, and various parts of South America.
In 1962, the company marked its 100th anniversary by opening a second plant in Bochum. To stay with their competition and the growing popularity of sports cars, the company launched a coupe in mid-1960. As the market again changed because of the first oil crisis, Opel changed their model range to again meet the needs of their consumers. The Rekord E offered a high performance vehicle while offering low fuel consumption at the same time.
It has been this style of business that as kept Opel and GM going over the past several years. The need to meet their consumer’s desires and satisfy them has helped them produce quality vehicles and stay ahead of their competitors from the beginning to modern day.