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|20th December 2012, 10:52||#31|
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Join Date: Aug 2008
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I came to this thread by chance when I read the word "OPEL". Please bear with this post as I become emotional whenever I hear the Opel brand name.
I owned an Opel Astra 1.6 NZR(new engine) 1997 model. It was my first car that I bought in Aug 2005 and was using it till Aug 2012 (7 yrs). Although I was the second owner it always felt like I was the first owner. What a marvellous car with a typical teutonic build quality, rock solid, glider on roads, etc. I can go on an on about the Opel Astra. I was, hell am still and will be forever in love with the Opel Astra. As a kid I always admired this car as one of our neighbouring building member had a electric blue Opel Astra which he bought brand new. I was in school then and used to always see that beauty parked day in and day out. I simply couldn't get enough of it.
I always told myself that one day I would buy this car. Years progressed and it was 2005, the year I got my first job(April 2005), all in my family were happy when tragedy struck, my father had a paralytic stroke and all of us in the family were disturbed. Public transport was no longer viable as we had to take him to the hospital for regular physiotherapy. We had a cash crunch due to heavy hospital bills so buying a new car at this juncture was not possible. I started looking for a second hand car with a modest budget and saw that hatchbacks suited my budget, but personally I hate hatchbacks(no offenses to hatchback owners). I started looking out for sedans and suddenly Opel Astra came to my mind but I thought it was sold at 9 odd lakhs when it was launched now it would be half so still not affordable but to my surprise Opel Astra has a terrible resale value. I was happy that I could afford one. 9 out of 10 people told me not to buy this car including one of my uncle who is a seasoned mechanic. The reasons given were expensive and hard to find parts, lack of service centre support, expensive to maintain, niggling issues, bad fuel economy, etc.
But I had already decided to go for the Astra one more thing that prompted me to go for Astra was the tagline "The Flight of German Engineering" We as a family had a German Connection as my father worked for a Famous German Conglomerate for 35 odd years. Also it was my childhood dream to own the Astra one day. I started searching and after one month of searching zeroed on a German Red color 1997 1.6 Petrol Opel Astra. It was in good shape and didnt look like it was an 8 yr old car in 2005. I took a mechanic and he drove the vehicle and gave me his feedback saying the car is in good shape with no rust whatsoever, engine feels excellent alongwith all other critical parts like alternator, timing belt, brakes, interior, etc. I bought the car one week later. I still could see the twinkle in my parents eye when I got the car home with the help of my mechanic as I didn't knew driving while I bought the car. Suddenly our building compound started looking smaller till that time there were only hatchbacks in the building and the Opel Astra required a place equal to two hatchbacks, it was a behemoth. Its size was intimidating and looks were to die for.
I learnt my driving on THIS car with the help of a friend who had a Cielo then. We used to practice during the night and believe me I learnt driving in this car in just 4 days. It was a very forgiving car for a new driver like me. I got my license and couldn't wait for driving. It served its purpose well by taking my father to his physiotherapy sessions to and fro. Let me tell you it was the most comfortable car for the elderly, No car an I mean no car beats it in terms of ride quality and cabin comfort. I am telling this after driving cars like Cielo, Ikon, Honda City both OHC and NHC, corolla old and corolla altis(I am only mentioning sedans as hatchbacks don't even come close to the ride comfort) I currently own a Mitsubishi Lancer and not even Lancer gives me that comfort feel when I drive it. Driving an Astra was a pleasure, beautiful hydraulic steering with apt response, stupendous suspension(special mention front double wishbone suspension and rear gas filled suspension) made it glide over the roads efforlessly, the potholes and bad patches were dismissed with aplomb. I simply loved it while in motion. Whoever says it has a lethargic engine has to drive it beyond 100 kMPH and all the misconceptions about the engine will vanish, the engine is butter smooth and the NVH levels are well within control with minimal cabin intrusion. This car was built to run on the famous German Autobahns, it's a highway cruiser. I felt the power was just enough although GM could have bought in a more competitve engine. About the problems with Astra, I for one had no major issues with the Astra and had spent very little amount to repair. None of the critical parts failed while I was using it except for the AC everything worked like charm. I always say that "Opel Astra gives you the comfort of a Mercedes, Performance of an Audi and Oomph factor of a BMW at a fraction of their price."
Coming back to the topic. I agree that GM launched it way ahead of its time and failed to market it well. GM made a terrible mistake of not updating the model as per market demands, they did it in the form of Astra Club but it was too late. I for one think that GM literally killed the Opel brand in India to make way for Chevrolet(Korean in American Skin). GM could've saved it by launching newer models with Indians' favorite fuel Diesel, but sadly they didn't. I dont know what the GM bosses were doing when Skoda gobbled up the Indian Diesel Sedan market during 2003 till 2007 eventhough GM had an arsenal of Diesel engines at its disposal. Why didn't they get the famous Opel MUVs like Zafira and Meriva, they would have given a tough time to the the market leader Innova. I was in favour of Opel becoming independant of GM when the financial crisis struck, but it didn't happen as GM knows Opel is their trump card.
Whereas i feel the same that Mitsubishi should break their alliance with HM and go independant.
Who knows what was in mind of GM bosses when they decided to kill an iconic brand like Opel in favour of Chevrolet. I am still waiting for GM to relaunch the Opel brand in India.
In this year Aug 2012 I had to part with the Opel Astra with a heavy heart as it was past its age and procuring parts were becoming difficult although I would've have make do by ordering parts online. But we needed another car as nobody including my mechanic for 7 yrs refused to work on this car as parts were difficult to procure and the ones procured were from scrap yards without any warranty and I was not confident about other workshops. I wanted to keep it as a second car but parking woes and practicality didn't allow me to do this. I got pathetic quotes from would be buyers and I said I would be more satisfied if I get this car broken in front of my eyes rather than handing it on a silver platter to a bloke. Finally I got it scrapped right in front of my eyes and kept its front bonnet Logo as a souvenir with me. I literally cried when I got back home and couldn't sleep that night even though I bought the Mitsubishi Lancer on the same day. My parents too were emotional infact my father cried with me while we took the car to be scrapped such was the bonding.
Last edited by Samurai : 20th December 2012 at 10:55.
|5th December 2013, 15:12||#32|
Distinguished - BHPian
Join Date: Dec 2010
Thanked: 15,541 Times
re: General motors is ruining the opel brand name
GM to drop Chevrolet in Europe to focus on Opel.
|The following BHPian Thanks volkman10 for this useful post:|
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