Opel dissociates itself and focuses on “Germanness”. The new Astra, the model with which the House of Lightning replaced the glorious Kadett and which has already been marketed in 15 million units, is proudly “Made in Germany”. Because it was developed and will be produced at the headquarters in Rüsselsheim, a stone’s throw from Frankfurt am Main.
The goal is to stand out within the Stellantis group, where there are Italian, French and American brands with a long tradition. Not that Opel is missing history, on the contrary: in 2022 it will blow out 160 candles. But the roots must be taken care of and the brand must be regenerated after almost 90 years with General Motor: in 2017 he joined PSA which then led him to the new company born from the merger with FCA.
“The secret is to exploit the synergies of the group to be able to exploit what it does best,” explains Marcus Lott, head of development at Opel and vice president of Stellantis Lead Engineering Central Europe. The House of Lightning thus bent the Emp2 multi-energy platform to its needs to continue to guarantee the principle internally renamed as “Autobahn proof”, ie tested on the motorway. It also means that the Astra must be not only safe, but also sporty and stable, with a more immediate response and a more “rigid” attitude on fast-flowing roads. Which in Rüsselsheim are a couple of kilometers from the factory exit.
“Germanness” is also synonymous with precision and quality, which Opel claims and highlights. It is no coincidence that the new Astra is also the first model to be offered both with the two conventional petrol and diesel power supplies and with the two alternatives to plug, plug-in and electric. The former will accompany its commercial debut (orders from October, deliveries from January), the latter will drive Opel into the future. The hybrids (from 180 and 225 hp and with up to 60 kilometers of autonomy thanks to the 12.4 kWh battery) will arrive over the next year as well as the family version, while the Astra-e is expected for 2023 on a version updated of the same architecture.
In Italy, the new Astra will be offered starting from 24,500 euros with the aim of becoming even more popular among the female audience. With this model and the Mokka (both listed also with two-tone bodywork), Opel plans to return to gaining significant market shares thanks to the passion for design.
The future of the German manufacturer is clear and this was confirmed by the new number one, the 58-year-old Uwe Hochgeschurtz who until a few months ago was in charge of the German, Austrian and Swiss markets on behalf of Renault. “From 2024 our entire range will be electrified and from 2028 in Europe we will offer only electric vehicles”, is the synthesis of what the manager has defined as the new “green thinking”.
The new Astra is more streamlined and has a lower setting, gains 4 millimeters in length (4,374 meters) and three times as much wheelbase (2,675). With the Astra, Opel dismisses the digital instrumentation and profoundly revisits the dashboard, elegant and refined, inserting large touch screens and intuitive functions. From the flagship Insignia, the compact gets the most modern 168-element Intelli-Lux Led Pixel Light active headlights. Jürgen Klopp, the smiling and winning German coach of Liverpool for years Opel testimonial, who has already driven the pre-series versions and that the manufacturer has called for the debut of cars and CEO, swears that the new Astra is “silent and powerful, almost as easy to handle as a sports car “.