New cars, what do we actually know? They are presented during private car shows or international trade fairs. Sometimes they have already leaked and fans are looking forward to the first photos. What we get is an abundance of information and sometimes ‘new’ is an update or improved version of its predecessor.
The most beautiful models are of course the concept cars, the dream cars, the study models that you hope they will ever 1: 1 in production. Everyone likes them but sometimes concepts are more the marketers who are partly responsible for future sales numbers. Manufacturers ensure that those extreme designs are tempered, after which the most beautiful concept ultimately yields a nice car but just misses the sex appeal of the concept car. Yet these concept cars are often decisive for all future models. In reality they are, therefore, many times more important if that might seem. It is the vision of the brand, the vision of the designer and the determining factor for the future of the car brand.
A cleansheet and the Opel GT from 2016
So what we see is the end result of years of study translated into that one new model, the dream car with the wow factor. Without having any idea what preceded it, like how many years of design are in it (the number of designers x the time they spent on their contribution). Opel, runner-up for several years with new and significantly more innovative models ever offers us, together with their designers and chief designer-guru Mark Adams (official Vice President Design of Opel) to literally sit at the design table from the very first moment. Where the screens are still empty, a cleansheet with somewhere as reference the concept car from 2016, the Opel GT . The car where everyone sincerely wondered, are you going to do it Opel, dare you do it and amaze everyone by putting this car on the market? It is history, he is still in Rüsselsheim (Germany), where since 1862 the headquarters of Opel is located, beautiful, iconic and staring at everyone who looks at him.
How to design a concept car for Opel in Germany
How does the design of future models actually work? Is there really a cleansheet or are there brand values such as German Germanness (German, Exciting and Approchable) that are important in the design of a new concept car for Opel? Let’s be clear, Opel is a German car brand, there is no doubt about that. And even though it is now owned by PSA, the French concern that includes Peugeot and Citroën, an Opel is designed and built according to German standards where quality always comes first. Concessions do not seem to exist here.
Germaness and the Soul of Opel
Mark Adams is clear about this, there are no restrictions. This is not to say that apart from the German Germaness, there are also a number of things that we take into account in our design mission. For example, there are the ‘iconic codes’ such as Yellow (the yellow of the first Opel GT) or motorsport, where performance is concerned, just like the GSi label. They belong to Opel and will always come back. For example, the LED light technology has been added to this for a number of years. It is not the easiest message, because anyone who delves deeper into Opel’s values learns that there is a long list of subjects that have to be taken under the skin. They are rules that enrich a new car. The mission is perhaps the most difficult of all because Opel wants very much that the new car is positioned ‘Like a true German friend’. Marketing bla bla? We do not think so, because why not design a car that everyone wants to keep from.
Design language at the design table
But let’s go back to the design table, where we can individually work with one of the designers. Our reference, the Opel GT from 2016. We also get some ‘Extorior Design’ assignments so we will not play Star Wars and get out of the top hat with a rocket on wheels. The designers help with thinking, visualizing and talking about which direction we go. My personal mission was already fixed in advance, how can we make an SUV from an Opel GT.
And because we programmed the Germaness (German, Exciting and Approchable) in our mind, we start with the nose, the view, which luckily makes most cars unique. So we are dealing with German consistency which means as much as, the logo in the middle, the light units give their own identity (you hope that everyone in his rearview mirror immediately recognizes an Opel). It becomes exciting when we merge the lights and the grille to create a new nose. And after that it only becomes more exciting, just like the multiple NDA that we have signed. We do not get to the inside, except that we know that the interior design has to radiate timeless modernity, simplified, timeless and purely functional and therefore also have to be visually very similar. You really do not want to leave and place your cot beside the large design screen because it is enjoying doing this. Exciting, surprising and rare inspiring. We now know what the new Opel concept car will look like, but we will only reveal that on 22 August. To be continued…
The Opel Museum which does not exist
Deep hidden on the old factory grounds is one of the many often empty halls a collection of German beauties of Opel. Classics or what you want to call them. It is a museum with cars and other eye-catching Opel-styled items such as bicycles and a refrigerator. Although every museum would be eager to include the collection, this is simply the heritage of the brand that has been around for 156 years. Take a look and enjoy.