GENEVA – Subscribing to the theory that great product delivered quickly and flawlessly is the best way to save a struggling auto maker, General Motors’ Adam Opel unit uses the auto show here to unveil several new vehicles intended for a wide range of customers.
Leading the charge is GM’s newest vice president and Opel’s new board chairman, Karl-Thomas Neumann, who also assumes the helm as president of GM Europe.
Despite being on the job a mere four days and facing enormous pressure to turn around the flagging operations and preserve thousands of jobs in Germany, Neumann steps on stage here and conveys a can-do charisma that Opel and its employees and customers badly need to see.
He wastes little time introducing three production vehicles, a youth-oriented concept and a rally racing car.
The first vehicle in the chute, arriving next month in European showrooms, is the Cascada 4-seat convertible, a near-luxury entry with midsize dimensions that will be positioned atop the Opel lineup.
The Cascada’s soft top, integrating magnesium components to reduce weight, opens at the touch of a button in 17 seconds while driving at speeds up to 50 km/h (31 mph), or via remote control while the car is at a standstill.
Engines available in the Cascada include a new 2.0L BiTurbo diesel 4-cyl. that Opel says produces 195 hp and 295 lb.-ft. (400 Nm) of torque and is capable of combined fuel economy of 45 mpg (5.2 L/100 km).
Also new is a 1.6L direct-injection gasoline turbo I-4 destined for other Opel midsize and compact models. The engine is rated at 170 hp and a peak 206 lb.-ft. (280 Nm) of torque, with combined fuel economy of 37 mpg (6.3 L/100 km), based on the European driving cycle.
Opel makes other powertrain news at the auto show, unveiling a new-generation 1.6L CDTI diesel 4-cyl. entering the market now in the Zafira Tourer peoplemover.
The auto maker says the powerplant, using urea-based “BlueInjection” selective catalytic reduction, is the cleanest diesel in its history and already meets future stringent Euro 6 emissions standards. The engine delivers 136 hp and 236 lb.-ft. (320 Nm) of torque, and combined fuel economy is estimated at a Toyota Prius-like 57 mpg (4.1 L/100 km).
Opel steps up its infotainment presence by adding the IntelliLink system – now a global GM platform for entertainment, phone and navigation – to the Adam city car that just went on sale in January and is produced in Eisenach, Germany.
IntelliLink is compatible with both Apple iPhones and Android smartphones and integrates many of their functions into the car. The system comes with Siri Eyes Free voice recognition, which works with iPhones running on Apple iOS 6, and apps such as TuneIn for global radio streaming.
The TuneIn app enables drivers and passengers to access 70,000 stations and more than 2 million on-demand programs. Songs also can be played from the driver’s iTunes music library.
Overall, the IntelliLink system is intended to make driving safer and more comfortable, allowing drivers to perform many functions solely by voice activation. Text messages also can be dictated verbally and sent.
Looking to further expand the city car’s appeal, Opel unveils the Adam Rocks concept, a 3-door, urban mini-cross/utility vehicle with muscular proportions, bold design and open-air capability.
The Adam also figures into Opel’s motorsports plans as the auto maker unveils here a new Rally Cup variant, the R2 concept, with adjustable chassis settings, a 185-hp 1.6L gasoline 4-cyl., Brembo brakes and race-ready interior.