- Late autumn 1947: Olympia is the first series-produced passenger car to roll off the assembly line after the plant is rebuilt
- Basis for success: Opel Olympia, Rekord and Co pave the way for the coming years of the German “Wirtschaftswunder”
- Current compact class bestseller: New Opel Astra is also “made in Rüsselsheim”
Opel Olympia 1947: The start of a new era of car production in Rüsselsheim
Opel had to start from scratch once before – after the great fire catastrophe of 1911, when a fire had reduced large parts of the Rüsselsheim plant to rubble. At that time, the Opel family and the employees showed courage to try something new and, after previously having made sewing machines, turned their attention completely to bicycle and automobile production. The situation is similar after the end of the Second World War. In 1945, there is hardly a stone left standing on the company premises near the Main river. However, reconstruction is quickly pushed ahead, so that parts production can initially be resumed under the existing circumstances. As early as the summer of 1946, the first 1½ tonne Blitz truck leaves the plant, which is then still under construction. Vehicle production picks up speed at the end of 1947. With the Opel Olympia, series production of passenger cars finally starts again. The Rüsselsheim based company thus chooses a model that already made history at its premiere twelve years earlier: in 1935, the Olympia was the first German mass-produced car to have a self-supporting all-steel body and, thanks to its low weight, improved driving performance and low fuel consumption. At the same time, the design of the modern safety body paved the way for large-scale production. These were the best prerequisites for a successful return to passenger car production in 1947.
The Olympia of 1947 differs from its predecessor in particular by an improved front axle with double wishbones and a slightly smaller wheelbase. The axle and steering of the two-door car now come from the Opel Kapitän. A concept that speeds up passenger car production in Rüsselsheim. Less than one year later, the larger, four-door Opel Kapitän goes into series production. And as early as June 8, 1949, Opel officials announce the completion of the 100,000th 1.5-litre Olympia. Simultaneously, the main plant in Rüsselsheim continues production of a "cool" product that only a few people today associate with the brand: the "Frigidaire" refrigerator, which is in great demand at the time and becomes a bestseller in the 1950s.
But the foundation stone for the booming production in Rüsselsheim – and for the mobility of millions in the following German “Wirtschaftswunderjahre” ("economic miracle years") – is laid as early as the end of the 1940s with models such as the Olympia, Kapitän and Co. Models that make a broad section of the population mobile again and innovations affordable. Opel has maintained this credo over the decades and continues to inspire people with models that are as practical as they are emotional and at the same time affordable. So it is no wonder that the latest generation of the compact class bestseller Opel Astra is also manufactured at the company's headquarters.
New Opel Astra: The next bestseller “made in Rüsselsheim”
Opel is driving into the future with the new Astra: The freshly crowned “Golden Steering Wheel 2022”1 winner is more dynamic than ever before – with a pure and bold design including the Opel Vizor brand face – while remaining a true everyday hero as five-door version as well as Astra Sports Tourer. Cutting edge technologies such as the intuitive, fully-digital Pure Panel cockpit or the adaptive, glare-free Intelli-Lux LED® Pixel Light make driving more pleasant and safer – just like the AGR-certified (Aktion Gesunder Rücken e.V.) ergonomic active seats for driver and front passenger. Last, but not least Astra customers have a wide choice of drive alternatives: The Astra five-door and Sports Tourer are not only available with highly efficient internal combustion engines, but also, for the first time, as electrified and thus locally emission-free plug-in hybrids. And the battery-electric Astra Electric will follow next year. A real success model – conceived, designed and made in Rüsselsheim.
 AUTIO BILD edition 45/2022 and BILD am SONNTAG edition 46/2022, category for “Best car under €50,000”.