By Kevin Miller
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.
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