Engage reverse: a brief history of the Opel Corsa

Since its inception, the Corsa has epitomized the spirit of practicality, style, and affordability, making it a beloved choice for drivers from around the globe (yes, that's right, the Corsa is loved across 4 different continents). We're especially proud that we recently added Opel as a brand to the SHARE NOW fleet, starting off with the Corsa. So with the 40th anniversary of the Corsa, join us as we take a journey through time to explore the unique history of the Opel Corsa in our latest post on iconic car models.

From sewing machines to cars: a seamless transition

Although Opel is one of Germany's oldest car manufacturers, the brand started out with humble beginnings. Founded by Adam Opel, who initially was working as a locksmith, he opened a workshop in 1862 to start producing sewing machines. The venture proved to be successful, with Adam's sewing machines quickly gaining popularity, and as a result, the business expanded rapidly with the launch of high-wheel bicycles in 1886.

Opel's sons later joined the family business and recognized the growth potential of the emerging automobile industry. They decided to shift their focus from sewing machines to transportation. As a result, Opel produced its first automobile in 1899, the Opel Patent Motor Car "System Lutzmann." While the Lutzmann didn't achieve much commercial success, it marked Opel's clear entry into the automotive market.

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No Corsa without Kadett

The Opel Corsa (which was also called the Vauxhall Nova in the UK), entered the market in 1982 as a replacement for the Opel Kadett. The Kadett itself was very popular, but as the general population was growing economically, they demanded an improved, more comfortable car. The new sporty hatchback was an instant hit since it was reliable and compact but with an affordable price tag. The Corsa became synonymous with design and efficient engineering, making it a popular choice for urban drivers.

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Designed to seduce

As years went by, the Opel Corsa underwent several transformations, keeping its finger on the pulse of trends and technological improvements. The second generation which was introduced in 1993 and designed by Japanese designer Hideo Kodama, featured a more rounded design, larger headlights, and improved safety features. This was part of Opel's strategy to win over a more female audience for the Corsa.

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Motorsports and racing

Thanks to its sporty design, the Corsa was destined for great adventures in the world of racing. Motorsport proved to be the perfect way to showcase Corsa's ability to perform and show off its agility. The success in motorsport helped to establish Corsa's reputation as a versatile car with true engineering power. The electric Corsa e-Rally model is a perfect example of how performance doesn't have to suffer by being sustainable. Opel was the first car manufacturer to create a battery-electric rally car, showing dedication to innovation and a greener future.

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Electric love

Sustainability is not only a buzzword reserved for fancy race cars for Opel. The latest generation of Corsa models is all set to take on future challenges head-on. With its purely battery-electric, emissions-free version, the conception of the Corsa-e in 2019, created a buzz among car enthusiasts. The sixth generation of the Corsa is not just a make-over but marks a bright, electric future ahead for Opel as a game-changer for electric mobility.

The Opel Corsa has come a long way since its creation in 1982 and continues to impress a loyal fanbase. From the early days as a sporty hatchback to the electric future ahead, Opel's dedication to sustainability and technological progress has helped the Corsa stand the test of time. So, a well-deserved Happy 40th to Corsa! We wish you many more birthdays to come.

Nicky Verdoodt

Nicky Delphin

Sr. Digital Content Strategist

"Passionate about cats. And cars!"

While the cat’s away, Nicky writes about mobility, one post at a time.