The car restoration blog

The assembly line in 1924 and cheaper automobiles

In 1924 Opel where the first German auto manufacturer to introduce the assembly line. This reduced the prices about 50% and in 1928 the production reached 43.000 units in one year. The first model produced on the assembly line was the Opel 4/12 PS witch could because of the new production techniques, be sold at a price of 1.900 Mark in 1926 instead of a price of 4.500 Mark. This model could only be delivered in green, witch gave it the nickname

– Laubfrosh – witch means the leaf frog. Following the great success and with a market share of 37.5% in Germany in 1928, Opel introduced a larger and more exclusive model. That became an 8 cylinder car with a weight of over 2 metric tons – but they made only 25 units.

In 1928 Opel could call them self the largest manufacturer of bicycles – motorcycles and mopeds where also produced. In 1929 two of the brothers died, and their families claimed a lot of money witch resulted a lack of money in the business.

Partnership with GM 1929-1948

GM_logoAll of the capital was bounded in the production machinery, so selling or cooperation was not an option. The result was that General Motors bought Opel for 33 millions Dollars.

After that they concentrated only on production of automobiles. Also as a part of improvements in the acquirement GM started an insurance company and the following year – 1930 – a financing company, for financing new cars for the customers.

In 1934 came the new Opel Olympia witch got its name because of the Olympic games in 1936. This car was constructed as a uni-body and already the following year came the Kadett model.

kapitanIn 1937 Opel celebrated its 75 ears jubilee and at the same time they launched the first Admiral model, and in 1938 came the first Kapitän on the market. The Olympia model was an advanced construction with it´s uni-body and was produced in 168.875 units and in 5 different versions. The Kadett that was launched in 1936 was so cheap (2.100 Reichsmark) that it became an immediate success all the way up until WW2 and 107.000 units where made.

In 1937 the bicycle production was sold to NSU, and the production of motorcycles ended in 1930. Until 1937 Opel had produced 2.600.000 bicycles. At the same time came the Opel Admiral and the Opel Kapitän, and in 1939 the where 25.000 employees and the one millionth car – an Opel Kapitän – was produced.

War erupted and the German Wehrmacht seized the factory. In 1944 the factory was totally destroyed by the allies bombing and the factory that made the Kadett was dismantled and moved to Russia where the first Moskovich was produced. It was of course a copy of the Kadett.

Opel tried to get back on its feet again, and already after the war end, the 8 of May 1945 the reconstruction of the factory began.

In 1946 they had a 1,5 tons truck ready and in 1947 they made 3.219 of them. In 1947 began the production of the pre-war model of the Kadett and in 1948 Opel relaunched the Kapitän.

The History of Opel part 3

The History of Opel part 5