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Fresh Drive for Opel Monocab Range

Opel’s model range at the Bologna Motor Show (December 7 – 16, 2007) features no less than 17 seats and up to 4280 liters of load volume capacity. This is no illusion, but rather the combined characteristics of Opel’s three quick-change artists.

The automaker from Rüsselsheim highlights its monocab designs – body models where the hood and trunk are not visibly separate from the cabin – which enable plenty of interior flexibility. Opel consistently sends a clear signal with these models’ market success and innovative ideas.

Opel monocab range

Opel monocab range

The top attraction in Bologna is the world premiere of the new Zafira. The benchmark for fully variable seven-seaters in the compact monocab class, the new Zafira boasts fresh design accents and three additional engines with improved fuel economy. From February 2008, the European record of two million units sold since 1999 will be within reach.

Opel’s new monocab highlights continue with the Italian premiere of the brand-new Agila. The flexible five-seater with up to 1050 liters of load space and exterior length of just 3.74 meters establishes Opel in the mini monocab segment.

Completing the monocab trio is the spacious Meriva, which has been the top seller in the small monocab class in Europe since its market launch in 2003. A total of around 280,000 Meriva (120,000) and Europe’s top-selling seven-seater Zafira (160,000) models were sold from January through November 2007. The launch of the new Agila in spring 2008 will put Opel in an even better position to defend its top market position in the coming years.

Alain Visser, Chief Marketing Officer GM Europe, praised the monocab trio as ideal brand ambassadors: “Opel stands for maximum variability in affordable cars, and we realize this democratization of intelligent vehicle concepts right across our model classes. The new Agila continues the outstanding flexibility of the Zafira and Meriva models, whose extraordinary qualities have helped shape Opel’s brand profile.”

Opel’s principle of optimal use of space

Opel’s strategy for success with its monocab range is to offer as much space and practicality as possible within the most compact dimensions conceivable, and to adapt this concept to various model size classes. The patented Flex7 seating system in the 4.47-meter long Zafira is considered the benchmark among technological solutions for maximum interior variability. Europe’s top-selling seven-seater can easily be transformed into a two-seater with a cargo capacity of up to 1820 liters without cumbersome removal of the seats. With the FlexSpace concept, the Meriva brings an iteration of this successful innovation to the small monocab segment. The 4.05-meter long quick-change artist can be configured in every conceivable way – as a five, four, three, two or one-seater with 2.40-meter load-floor length and cargo capacity of 1410 liters. The new 3.74-meter long Agila echoes this flexibility and brilliant simplicity. Folding the 60:40-split rear bench seat back down creates a flat load floor and boosts the luggage compartment volume from 225 to 1050 liters - a capacity unrivalled by the Agila’s competitors.

Besides the efficient use of space, other monocab success factors include the high seating position for good visibility and the ease of entry and exit. Currently 13 percent of new passenger car registrations in Europe are for vehicles in this category. Frank Leopold, Manager Innovation, Advanced Package & Concept Cars, Adam Opel GmbH, sees a bright future for monocabs: “In the past, cars were just made longer and wider to create more space. But Flex7, which is incorporated in the monocab design, presented an alternative. And as just making cars bigger is also not very environmentally friendly, the trend toward efficient innovations à la Opel will continue.”

Intelligent space concept reduces per-head consumption

The intelligent design concept of providing maximum variability and plenty of space despite compact dimensions and less weight are key to the Opel monocabs’ environmental compatibility and economy. The new mini monocab is the latest proof of this, as the Agila 1.0 and 1.3 CDTI require just 5.0 and 4.5 liters of fuel respectively per 100 kilometers. The corresponding CO2 value of 120 g/km means when fully occupied, the Agila emits an extremely environmentally friendly 24 g CO2/km and seat. The Zafira 1.6 CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) has an even more impressive emission value: its five-kilogram consumption of H-gas per 100 km results in just 138 g CO2/km. With six passengers plus driver, the Zafira 1.6 CNG – available as an Opel ecoFLEX model from spring 2008 – produces just 20 g CO2/km and seat.

The addition of the new 1.6-liter gasoline engine (85 kW/115 hp) and two 1.7 CDTI common-rail turbo-diesels (81 kW/110 hp and 92 kW/125 hp) expands the Zafira engine range with more economical units that provide greater output but consume less fuel. Aside from the CNG unit, there is a total of five gasoline and four diesel engines with displacements from 1.6 to 2.2 liters and an output range of 85 to 177 kW (115 to 240 hp). The Meriva also boasts a broad engine range, with four gasoline and three common-rail turbo-diesel ECOTEC units. Their displacements range from 1.3 to 1.8 liters, with outputs from 55 to 132 kW (75 to 180 hp). The models that attract the greatest attention, however, are the turbo-charged top-of-the line Zafira and Meriva OPCs. Buyers enjoy maximum flexibility combined with maximum performance, as the Zafira and Meriva OPC models come with Flex7 or FlexSpace coupled with a top speed of 231 or 222 km/h respectively.

Unique technology features

The Zafira is not just monocab pioneer in interior flexibility, but also in technology. The IDSPlus (Interactive Driving System) with electronic Continuous Dampening Control (CDC) is unique in this segment, and the Trailer Stability Assist (TSA) sets standards, providing a significant boost in safety for car-trailer drivers. While the bi-xenon AFL (Adaptive Forward Lighting) headlamps with dynamic curve light ensure considerably improved road illumination, the panorama roof system offers two benefits for Zafira passengers: it provides a pleasant feeling of spaciousness on board, and helps keep the interior tidy thanks to the roof console running the entire length of the cabin.

“Our monocab range, with its high levels of flexibility, state-of-the-art technology at affordable prices and innovative ideas, is rounded off perfectly by the new Agila. This new model will further strengthen our leading position in this segment,” says Alain Visser.

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