Opel tempted to bring the Corsa hatch to the United States

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 20, 2011

It’s rumored that Opel’s compact cars will soon arrive in the U.S. Opel recently denied speculations that GM is selling its European division to Volkswagen. According to German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, Opel’s counsel chief Klaus Franz came up with the idea to sell a small car in America to attempt to capture that market that Fiat and VW Group are eyeing.

The main reason why the Corsa or Tigra was supposed to not be offered in the U.S. is because of the possibility that they will overlap with GM’s products.

However, Fiat seems to be going through with this plan. It makes it unlikely now that GM will follow suit. According to the new plan, the Corsa may be presented in 2013 and will be given the Junior or Allegra name. The company has yet to explain why a swap is even required.

In the 1960s to the early 1970s, Opel had a practice of importing cars using its own name to the U.S. Franz said that back then, the Opel brand had a very positive reputation among the consumers in the U.S.

GM plans to introduce the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic soon. However, it’s uncertain if an imported Corsa could ever be competitively priced. GM’s Dan Akerson and Opel had been in a lot of tension but the COA was supposedly getting impatient with the car’s incapability of reaping some profit.

When it comes to small cars, or super-minis for that matter, consumers from Europe will generally prefer the Opel Corsa. This model makes up about 30% of that of Opel/Vauxhall sales, making it among the front-runners for its class. The company estimates that at least 400,000 units have been sold per year for the last three years. While it was designed, as well as developed, at Rüsselsheim, Germany, the Corsa was manufactured in Eisenach, Germany and Zaragoza, Spain. The new look of the Opel Corsa is mainly founded on the successful design.

With the brand having a new design language, the Corsa now has an athletic and strong look. Even then, it continues to have that friendly and dynamic quality. Its sporty effect was made possible by re-proportioning the grilles, both the upper portion and the lower one. Instead of the horizontal bars, the upper grille now has that three-dimensional mesh and due to the extra level of attention paid to it, it brings to mind the Astra. The lower grille meanwhile has been made taller and wider and thus it makes the Corsa visually wider. While the vehicle already has that expressive look, this impression on the front portion is reinforced by the chromed bar, which is sculptured, larger and completely sporting a new design. Incorporated to it is the new Opel logo.

All of these different changes ensure that this new offering from Opel gets that additional dynamic stance. While the Corsa has long been recognized as the favorite in the market, this charm is maintained when one looks at it from the side. Whether it is the three-door coupe version or the five-door family-oriented unit, the curved profile is just as attractive and aerodynamic.

That it has a dynamic and smooth expression is evident by the upswept waistline that is well-defined, the way the front and rear has been designed, and the way the relationship of the body-to-wheel is optimized. Its tailgate comes in a V-shape and it has that signature center crease. In addition, similar to the radiator grille, the tailgate has that large emblem that sports the recognizable design elements from Opel. The Corsa also delivers fun in driving and excellent handling agility which is displayed through the more pronounced wheel arches and its wide stance.

Helping improve the ride comfort as well as provide better directional stability and enhanced steering feel is the chassis of the 2010 model year that has been improved significantly. All of this was made possible without sacrificing any of its driving fun and agility. Going back to the front, the daylight signature lamp has that wing shape with the headlamps having those eagle eyes. These features were first seen when the Insignia made its official debut and are now included as standard in all new products coming from Opel. The components inside that lamp have all been improved in order to have that jewel-like execution and thus strengthening its sporty appearance.

Integrated to the fog lamp units are the chrome blades which complete the face of this new model’s expressive presence. Improving the look even further aside from the Opel logo that has been redesigned and placed on the tailgate are the six alloy wheels whose designs have been improved. Opel will be offering three colors for the exterior of the Corsa, consisting of Henna, Grasshopper green, and the off-white Guacamole. Opel also ensured that the Corsa had better running refinement by improving the steering gear, the rear axle, anti-roll bars, springs, and dampers. Even the software for its Electric Power Steering was revised as well.

All of these are then combined with enhanced ride quality and steering, qualities one would expect from a car that belongs to a more expensive segment. Both the ESP Plus system and the ABS equipped as part of the Corsa help sustain the front disk brakes that are internally ventilated. It also gives extra functions such as in the case of an emergency wherein the system triggers brake assist and electronic brake force distribution as well as brake control.

Even with the dynamic style, athletic look, and the driving fun, top class quality is also offered by the new Corsa. For example, the 2010 DEKRA Quality Report from Germany awarded the Corsa as the overall winner when it comes to quality as it was the vehicle that had the lowest defect rate out of all that was tested. DEKRA, or Deutscher Kraftfahrzeug-Überwachungs-Verein, is a full-service and independent provider with the goal of efficient and safe mobility. It is also the top technical expert organization in Europe.

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