Europe is saying buh bye to the American bowtie brand at General Motors’ behest; not that people across the Atlantic are showing Chevy much love anyway.
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General Motors as officially announced output figures for its new 1.0-liter three-cylinder turbocharged mill.
The MINI Cooper and Fiat 500 may soon have a rival in the U.S., but it won’t be a from another European automaker… or will it?
The future is full of technology for General Motors subsidiaries Opel and Vauxhall.
Images and technical details surrounding a concept car slated for the Frankfurt Motor Show were released today, previewing what the brand’s designers and engineers are developing for future products.
Opel seems to be putting a strong emphasis on connected car technology in the future. Current iterations of that system that several automakers are developing would allow cars to share information both with other vehicles and information waypoints. Traffic data, upcoming hazards and other relevant safety information will be relayed in split seconds, assuming manufacturers can agree on which system to use. Contention between charging heads for electric cars probably offers accurate foreshadowing.
If the auto industry avoids its usual Mexican standoff, the Monza’s information sharing system could offer interesting capability. It uses three modes: “me,” “us” and “all.”
In “me” mode, the infotainment system mostly disconnects from smartphones and focuses on relevant driving information. Switch to “us,” and preselected people will be able to communicate with the car to play music, share pictures and information. “All” mode opens the car to share information with anyone. Drivers will be able to share their planned route with people who have a smartphone or tablet so they can “catch a ride.”
The infotainment system, itself, is also something of a tech wonder. Rather than a conventional touch screen, it uses 18 LED projectors to cast a display onto the dashboard. The display will be customizable according to driver preference as well.
The sculpted-looking sheet metal is an evolution of the current Insignia design, which is the basis for the North American Buick Regal. Buick relies heavily on Opel for its product line, and if that remains the case for future products, this could have tie-ins to coming Buicks too. From an aesthetic standpoint, this design isn’t terribly different from the Buick Riviera concept shown in Shanghai earlier this year.
The style cues and wheels all bear similarities, but it’s the cabin and powertrain that really offer an important peek into what might be coming.
The Monza suggests that range extenders won’t be exiting the General Motors portfolio any time soon. It uses an electric powertrain supplemented by a range extending engine similar to the Chevrolet Volt, which uses gasoline. This doesn’t. Instead, it burns compressed natural gas (CNG) with the company’s new 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine, which will debut simultaneously in Frankfurt.
GALLERY: Opel Monza Concept
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General Motors unveiled its 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine bound initially for the Opal Adam city car ahead of its Frankfurt Motor Show debut.
Expect the number of fuel efficient vehicles offered by General Motors grow in the next four years.
Should General Motors’ German subsidiary be scrapped? Not according to its American parent, which plans to pour four billion Euros into it through 2016.
Recently unveiled for Europe, the Opel Cascada is headed to America suggest sources inside the company, likely badged as a Buick.
From the Regal to the Verano, several of the new models in Buick’s revitalized lineup owe their origins to GM’s European operations where they were first engineered under the automaker’s Opel division. That could happen once again with the new Vauxhall Cascada a possible look at a future Buick convertible.
Opel is now the first automaker to road-test a fully integrated matrix light in its prototype vehicles. Its new LED light matrix technology is designed to make night time driving safer by using high beams in standard driving mode.
While that may sound annoying to the other drivers on the road, the light matrix is designed to keep the beam glare free, automatically adapting it to the traffic situation. Essentially the LED light matrix can adjust more rapidly to the traffic situation than any other solution that relies on the driver, or is based on mechanical components.
By working in combination with the front camera, the matrix light will adjust the second the sensors from the camera detect light sources from oncoming or proceeding traffic. The area in front of the vehicle will be completely dimmed while the rest of the road will remain brightly illuminated. This help ensures that drivers in front of the light matrix aren’t pestered, but other non-illuminated obstacles remain well lit.
Each of the two matrix headlights consists of four light segments. Behind each segment, there are four different light sources that can be switched on or off individually, giving it 16 possible combinations per headlight. In total, there are 256 different light settings that will change and adjust without the driver noticing.
Opel plans to implement the LED lighting matrix in its vehicles over the next few years.
Watch a video of it in action after the break.
When Opel/Vauxhall first announced that its Ampera plug-in hybrid electric vehicle would participate in the 13th International Monte Carlo Rally for alternative energy vehicles, it made a point to challenge the Tesla Roadster, which won the previous two years.
Completing the racing stages from Annecy-le-Vieux to Monte Carlo from March 22 through 25, the Opel Ampera of Bernard Darniche and Joseph Lambert finished in first place, winning the Ampera’s inaugural Monte Carlo Rally. Following the leading Ampera, three more crossed the line to finish in the top 10.
A total of 130 competitors from 30 manufacturers took part in the Monte Carlo Rally, including a total of seven Amperas, the Renault Fluence Z.E., Tesla Roadster, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Volkswagen Up!, and Peugeot Ion. A test of endurance for alternative propulsion, teams were judged based on energy usage at a steady speed via a ratio formula that accounted for vehicle weight, CO2 emission, energy density of the fuel and its consumption.
According to French rally co-pilot Joseph Lambert, “The sophisticated technology of the Ampera was always reliable and enabled our tremendous success.”
“The Ampera’s success in this versatility contest under very challenging conditions proves its impressive balance between durability and fuel efficiency. This underscores our leadership role in the field of alternative propulsion,” Vauxhall/Opel director of E-mobility Enno Fuchs said.
GALLERY: Monte Carlo Rally Opel Ampera
But it appears that GM executives can let out a sigh of relief, as the European counterpart, the Opel Ampera, has broken the 7,000 order mark and is nearly sold out until year’s end in Europe. The Ampera was recently named European Car of the Year which was no huge surprise considering the Nissan Leaf took the honor in 2011.
“We are extremely pleased with the continuing demand for our Ampera,” said Enno Fuchs, Opel’s e-mobility launch director. “This news shows us that our sales target of 10,000 units for 2012 is well within reach.”
What’s interesting now is how quickly Opel will be able to fulfill those orders considering GM shut down production for five weeks. The automaker began delivering Amperas to customers in February and according to Opel, deliveries are “going according to plan.” Interestingly enough, many of the Europeans purchasing the Ampera are switching from luxury brands such as BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz stating that the Ampera’s “cutting-edge technology” is what’s enticing.
[Source: Plug In Cars]
Entering the Monte Carlo Rally for Alternative Energy Vehicles, the six Amperas will race against 150 other green cars in a series of stages starting March 22 from Annecy-le-Vieux, to Clermont-Ferrand, Luganu, and finally finishing three days later at Monaco.
Regulations for this competition dictates that a car must emit less than 115g/km of CO2 in order to participate. While not as exciting as the WRC event, the Alternative Energy competition can be just as challenging to tackle. The goal is to cover the race distance, maintain a constant speed, all while using as little energy as possible.
The Tesla Roadster emerged victorious at the Monte Carlo rally twice in a row. Intent on giving Tesla a run for its money, the Opel Ampera features an electric motor that drives the wheels and a conventional gasoline engine that kicks in to generate electricity once the battery depletes. The Ampera’s system is prepared to deliver 150 hp and 273 lb.-ft. of instant torque, good for a 0-62 mph time of approximately 9 seconds and a top speed of 100 mph.
German automaker Opel revealed the specifications and pricing on its hot new OPC today which has us hoping it might, in some form, make it to the U.S. market.
That might seem like a pipe dream, but the GM-owned company already has its hands in the American market by way of the Buick Regal, which since 2009 has essentially been, well, a re-badged Opel. The 2.0-liter turbocharged powerplant in the OPC packs 277 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque in a stylish body that could probably have a home in our sport compact market. The Opel OPC rungs from 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in six seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph.
Riding on a FlexRide chassis, Opel incorporated a mechanical limited-slip differential and high performance struts (HiPerStruts) for the front-wheel drive sports car. Two driving modes are available: Sport and OPC. On the inside, Opel outfits the OPC interior with race seats, incorporating weight-saving material seen for the first time in a production vehicle. In total, each seat weighs 45 percent less than a conventional one and still boasts up to 18 different configurations.
The OPC will launch in Germany this spring with a starting price of around $44,890 (€34,250) including value-added tax.
If the performance parts aren’t enough to pique interest, it might be worth nothing that the Astra OPC recently endured a 6,213-mile test on the Nürburgring which equates to 111,846 miles in a normal driving environment. You can watch a video of the car below.
GALLERY: Opel Astra OPC