Opel, originally and more correctly known as Adam Opel AG is an automobile maker in Germany, now part of General Motors. But producing automobiles was not the first thing Opel produced. As they started to build cars, they also made household goods. It opened for business on January 21, 1899.
Many cars sold by General Motors worldwide are Opel designs, including such models as the Corsa, Astra, Vectra and Omega. Opel models are also sold under other GM brand names, such as Vauxhall in the UK,Holden in Australasia, and Chevrolet in Latin America. Its Zafira people carrier is even sold in Japan badged as a Subaru, while the Omega was briefly sold in the US as the Cadillac Catera. The first cars produced by Daewoo in South Korea were based on the Opel Kadett (now Astra) and larger Rekord (now Omega).
Opel is the main GM brand name in Europe except in the UK, where GM's other European subsidiary, Vauxhall Motors, still uses its own brand name. Vauxhall's models were completely different designs from those of Opel, until the 1970s. The Opel name largely disappeared from the UK in 1981 after Vauxhall and Opel dealerships were merged, with only the Manta being sold as an Opel, until it was discontinued in 1988. Vauxhall began adopting Opel's names for its models, with the exception of 'Kadett' which was replaced by Astra, already used by Vauxhall in 1991. However, even in other right hand drive markets in Europe like the Republic of Ireland the main GM brand name is now Opel, although many Vauxhalls, imported second hand from the UK, are still seen on Irish roads. For many years, Opel Ireland sponsored the country's soccer team, using the slogan 'Ireland's Number One Supporter'.
Some have suggested that the Vauxhall name should be dropped in the UK in favour of Opel, thereby harmonising GM's marketing strategy across Europe. However, Vauxhall has rejected this, on the grounds that its brand is well known, and fleet buyers, who are its main customer base, insisted that Opel models be rebadged as Vauxhalls.