Opel Insignia Wins European Car of the Year

By Kevin Miller

11.17.2008

General Motors’ Opel Insignia (Vauxhall Insignia in the UK) has been awarded Car of the Year by auto journalists. The Insignia won this award in a very close vote, beating Ford’s new Fiesta by just one point, with third place going to the Volkswagen Golf. The all-new Opel Insignia, will be available in sedan, hatchback and station wagon variants when it hits dealerships in Europe late this year and early 2009.

Hans Demant, Managing Director of Opel and Vice President of Engineering for General Motors Europe, says: “We are extremely proud the Insignia has been named Car of the Year. This is confirmation of the hard work of our designers, engineers and workers; and their commitment to quality that makes the Insignia a true flagship for our brand.”

The Insignia features a host of active and passive safety and comfort features. Available optional equipment includes the ‘Opel Eye’ system that reads road signals, FlexRide suspension and nine-mode Adaptive Forward Lighting. Insignia variants are available with a line-up of seven engines including four gasoline engines ranging from a four-cylinder 115 HP unit to a V6 with 260 HP, and three new 2.0 liter direct-injection turbo-diesels with outputs between 110 and 190 HP. All meet Euro 5 emissions standards and come with six-speed transmissions, either manual or automatic.

This award is a much-needed bright spot for GM, which is facing unprecedented economic turmoil. The company has stated that it has only enough cash to remain in business into early 2009, and has requested financial assistance from US and German governments for its business units in those countries.

The Insignia is a sleek, good-looking car, with a low drag coefficient of 0.27.  It is widely believed the Insignia will become the next Saturn Aura in the US. The Insignia platform also underpins the upcoming Saab 9-5, the development of which has been delayed due to GM’s financial woes. Hopefully financial trouble will not delay arrival of the Insignia to showrooms across Europe, so that sales can be jump-started by the wave of positive press that comes with winning the Car of the Year award.

COPYRIGHT Autosavant – All Rights Reserved

Author: Kevin Miller

As Autosavant’s resident Swedophile, Kevin has an acute affinity for Saabs, with a mild case of Volvo-itis as well. Aside from covering most Saab-related news for Autosavant, Kevin also reviews cars and covers industry news. His “Great Drive” series, with maps and directions included, is a reader favorite.

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5 Comments

  1. The sad thing is GM is building the best cars it has ever built. (I admit this, even though I’ve never been a fan of the company or its products. I’m a Ford/Mazda guy.) Bob Lutz is right in that there’s a perception gap (the Japanese have no advantage in quality anymore), but look at who created that perception. Talk about self-inflicted wounds.

    Unfortunately, by having burned far too many buyers over the past few decades, GM has saddled its new products with far too much baggage –and so the company is now about to bite the bankruptcy bullet. I remember my dad’s GMC VanDura van, where the rust was the only thing keeping the body intact –yet GM never bothered to fix the obvious design problems for the better part of a decade. A couple of drain holes in the right places –and maybe some better rust-proofing– would have done the beast a world of good. But apparently that cost too much money or was just too hard to implement.

    Or, more likely, GM just didn’t effin’ care.

  2. While I think Ford was robbed, it would be churlish not to say well done to Opel/Vauxhall for its first COTY victory since the Omega/Carlton way back in 1987.

    Looking at the other placings, clearly the Insignia and Fiesta were the international jury’s favourites by a mile. The wooden spoon performance must go to the Renault Megane, which finished last despite that company’s usually excellent track record in this contest. What bad timing for Renault to have seemingly abandoned all design flair at this juncture.

  3. This car is so much better looking in person, which makes it a very attractive car, since it also looks good in the still photos.

  4. TST

  5. I am from the US and saw the Insignia on the road in the UK. It is very stylish. I wish that they had not taken the styling out before they brought it to the US as a Saturn Aura. They took the great styling out and turned it into a plain family sedan.

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