Opel Press Room
- Kadett launched as innovative small car with an integral body and frame
- Over 24 million Kadett and Astra have been sold to date
- Current generation Astra continuing the success story of its ancestors
Rüsselsheim. The first Opel Kadett was a minor sensation, both technically and in terms of price. More than 100,000 of these four-seat models were built from 1936 to 1940 in Rüsselsheim, which even then was one of the most advanced car-making plants in Europe. The first Kadett with its revolutionary unitary body construction available as a sedan or convertible cost only 2,100 marks.
With its good value for money and progressive features, the first Kadett laid the corner stone for Opel’s success in the compact class. To date, eleven generations of Kadett and Astra have been successful in their segment: Over 24 million Opel Kadett and Opel Astra cars sold is an impressive number and a notable achievement. Lined up one behind the other, all Opel compact models built so far would surpass the magical 100,000-kilometer mark and create a column of cars that could circle the equator two and a half times. Opel compact cars have successively made personal mobility accessible to a broad customer base, especially in economically difficult times and not only that. The latest generations have made technologies and innovations from higher segments affordable for numerous customers. The new Opel Astra, launched in 2015, has already been ordered 275,000 times across Europe.
1936-1940: Opel Kadett 1 – The Volkswagen
The speedy four-seater could do nearly 100 km/h and it did not take long to find its way into the hearts of the general public. It also found favor with the press: “As the first test drives have confirmed, the Kadett is certainly not an ordinary vehicle in this price range,” wrote a German newspaper, “Braunschweiger Tageszeitung,” on December 5, 1936. The chassis with Dubonnet independent front suspension and leaf-spring rear axle stemmed from the Opel Olympia, and the L-head four-cylinder gray cast-iron engine was taken from the Opel P 4. It generated 23 hp from a displacement of 1,073 cm3. The advantages of taking the engineering from a modular system also played a key part in the low price of the car. Just like its big brother the Olympia, which it resembles in appearance, the Kadett is a modern car. Harmonious proportions with a hatchback and integrated headlights are characteristic.
Like its big brother the Olympia, which it also resembles, the Kadett was a snazzy car. It was characterized by harmonious proportions with fastback and integrated headlamps. In 1938 a major mid-cycle enhancement added a new radiator mask in late art deco style– experts today count this model as an intermediate generation.
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