PLACE DE LA CORSA, PARIS – General Motors unveils the new Opel Corsa in production sheet metal for the first time, hoping the longtime linchpin of the German automaker’s lineup can breathe more life into a turnaround now expected to yield profitable results in 2016.
“It’s time for the new Corsa, and this allows us to step forward,” says Opel design chief Mark Adams.
The fifth-generation Corsa, available in 3- and 5-door body styles, receives major exterior design upgrades meant to convey more emotion, sculpture and precision, and an interior boasting colorful options and advanced connectivity.
“Corsa has a strong history,” Adams tells WardsAuto today on the sidelines of an event introducing the car ahead of Thursday’s unveiling at the Paris auto show, where each previous iteration of the Corsa has bowed.
“It has always been the right size at about four meters (157.5 in.), but at the same time has had a generous interior package,” he adds. “We wanted to maintain that, but dial up the exterior design, give it a new heart with the engines and a driving experience that is more dynamic.”
Engine choices include a top-of-the-range gasoline direct-injection 1.0L 3-cyl., which together with this summer’s launch of the Adam Rocks A-car marks the first two applications of the tiniest architecture in an all-new small-engine family from GM rolling out globally in the coming months.
A new GDI 1.4L 4-cyl. turbo choice also exists, as well as a further-developed version of GM’s 1.2L and 1.4L naturally aspirated GDI 4-cyl. units and a more refined version of the automaker’s 1.3L 4-cyl. turbodiesel.
Transmission options in the range include a 6-speed manual gearbox, 6-speed automatic and an automated manual setup just out of the box at Opel.
The Corsa redesign comes at a pivotal time. Arguably the most widely appealing Opel with 12.3 million sold over its 32-year lifetime, it has been eight years since the last makeover. As recently as 2009, according to results from European countries tracked by WardsAuto, the car accounted for a respectable 137,043 deliveries. Last year, sales fell to 78,883.
Given its expected sales volumes, the car should play a key role in reversing Opel’s flagging financial performance, which GM CEO Mary Barra today said will return to the black in 2016 for the first time in more than 15 years.
“The interior alone brings us into a contemporary position,” within the B-segment, Adams says of the Corsa redo.
Opel also will show Thursday at its stand inside the Paris Expo the Opel Adam S, a racy take on the pint-sized 2-door using the new 1.4L turbo 4-cyl. and a 6-speed manual transmission. The Opel Mokka featuring a 1.6L turbodiesel 4-cyl. will appear alongside, and the show will mark the debut of a 2.0L turbodiesel for the midsize Insignia sedan and Zafira Tourer MPV.
“The four world premieres represent the consistent continuation of our model and powertrain offensive,” Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann says.