Exclusive long-lead test drive: Michelle Wiggers was among the many colleagues to get behind the wheel of the new Astra Sport Tourer.

New Astra Welcomes Colleagues

After 400 journalists put the new Astra Sports Tourer through its paces for ten days, it was the turn of the employees at the beginning of July. For one day, groups of employees were split into group and enjoyed a special progamme. First a presentation in the building N50, then a test drive around the headquarters. Those who signed up for the first slot in the morning were welcomed by the new Opel CEO Florian Huettl himself: „The press reaction so far proves that we have scored a big hit with the Astra Sports Tourer!“

Of course, Opel Post was there. Because when colleagues meet brand new models like the bold sports estate “Made in Rüsselsheim”, moments full of emotion, exciting details and a lot of affection for the product are guaranteed. Including a close look at the underbody, a stylish trio in blue and a shark hunt

Florian Huettl, the new Opel CEO, is delighted with the “perfect premiere of the new Astra.”
300 employees seized the chance to take a closer look at the Astra Sports Tourer.
The Astra Sports Tourer can be further customised with mirror covers and wheel spoke clips.

“The press reaction confirms that we have scored a big hit with the Astra Sports Tourer.”

– Opel CEO Florian Huettl –

“The wallbox
is already installed!”

Jochen Redeker (left) and Frank Klappich are
CNC specialists in Design.

“Those sharp radii, the stretched, sporty roofline!” – that the Astra Sports Tourer would become a design masterpiece already dawned on the CNC specialists four years ago. Back then, when they programmed the high-speed milling machines that revealed the lines of the estate layer by layer from a block of hard plastic. Now, after test driving the plug-in hybrid, Jochen Redeker is also convinced by the driving characteristics: “The Astra is so quiet and the transition from electric drive to combustion engine is fluid, no jerking, nothing.” And then there’s the interior: “The tray for the sunglasses – is my favourite detail. And the pressure points of the manual buttons are excellent. The quality feel of the cockpit is top class!” Frank Klappich keeps it short: “Either my Vivaro or my Signum – one of them has to make room in the garage. For this one,” he says and points to the plug-in hybrid. The wallbox is already installed.

Michelle Wiggers currently works on the cockpit line at the Rüsselsheim plant.

“We like to help with the launch of a new model – it’s a matter of honour!” says the welding specialist from Kaiserslautern, who is currently contributing her know-how with other colleagues from the Palatinate plant. Since the beginning of May, she has been assembling the Astra cockpit including the Pure Panel. “It already looks great when it’s free-floating on the assembly arm, but when it’s installed like this – it’s awesome!” she says during her test drive. And since her heart also beats for her home plant in “K-Town”, she invites us back to the car park to explore the underbody: “There, this platform component on the exhaust for example, we manufacture it in Kaiserslautern,” she explains, peeking out from under the rear.

“The Pure Panel –

The engineering students Johannes KornLuis HartmannFelix Troll, Anna ScharfFabrice WendrockTobias KochMoritz Heibertshausen (from left) celebrate the premiere.

The way the CES students drive up one by one and get out of their test cars grinning broadly is reminiscent of a movie premiere. CES stands for Cooperative Engineering Studies, a mix of mechanical engineering, computer science, electrical engineering and industrial engineering, in combination with training as a mechatronics engineer, for example. What did they like best? “The smooth running of the three-cylinder.” “The Pure Panel.” “The double loading floor.” “Shifts well.” “The design.” “My highlight,” Johannes Kern adds, “is that we were allowed to drive it today – really cool!”

The trainee technical product designers Nico SchlösserDominik WichleiYvonne Phan and Victor Brill (from left) demonstrate their expertise.

The quartet puts their heads together at the rear of the Sports Tourer. “From the third brake light to the Opel logo to the reversing lights – everything is precisely aligned vertically,” says one. “Look, even the little lens of the rear-view camera sits on the line,” adds someone else. The four are budding technical product designers in their second year of training. That explains their attention to detail. They had their first contact with the Astra a year ago, they say. Back then, they evaluated the feel of buttons for the volume control. To be able to drive the final Astra Sports Tourer here today before everyone else – “that’s quite something,” they agree.

“The quality feel of the cockpit
is top class!”

– Jochen Redeker, CNC specialist–

“And for me –
The colour-keyed wheel spoke clips.”

Global Accessory Operations Manager Stefanie Ruby 
presented the Opel Accessories.

“From employees for employees” is the motto of the day. And Stefanie Ruby is clearly having fun introducing her colleagues to the Opel accessories that can be used to further customise the sporty estate. We asked the accessory specialist to compile her personal TOP 5 list for the Astra Sports Tourer. “For me as a mother of three, the customised sun shields for the rear and side windows are indispensable – and of course the FlexConnect holder for the tablet.” Another must-have for the dog owner: the waterproof mat for the boot. And of course the dog safety guard. “It’s easy to fit, the corresponding hooks come as standard,” she explains. “And last but not least,” she adds, “I’d go for the wheel spoke clips and mirror trims in body colour as a stylish teaser for the sports estate!”

“We at Opel drive Opel” – Bakari Mwabasi (left) und Piero Parisi make sure of it.

Even before the first colleagues arrive, we drop in on Bakari Mwabasi and Piero Parisi from the Opel Store for employee leasing and new car purchases. It’s probably going to be a busy day? “Oh yes, we’ve been seeing for weeks that our colleagues are really excited about the new Astra,” says Piero Parisi, pointing to a long list on his laptop. “Which is of course also due to our attractive employee conditions,” adds Bakari Mwabasi. Parisi: “The only drawback is that, like everywhere else, delivery times have increased.”

“The colleagues are
really excited about
the new Astra.”

The Astra Sports Tourer: designed, developed and presented in Rüsselsheim.
How about some ice cream? Ramesh Niebling waited for the colleagues after the test drive.
The choice comprised plug-in hybrids in blue or diesel or petrol in grey.

“The quiet, the comfort – for me a drive is always like a wellness trip.”

– Haiyan Yu, Manager Astra Sports Tourer –

“We dressed up especially for the
Sports Tourer.”

The 3D modellers Oliver Jones and Anne Jung 
assisted at the birth of the Astra Sports Tourer.

“Coincidence? No.” Anne Jung peers over the blue mirrored lenses of her sunglasses, adjusts the cobalt blue dress. “This is a special day – and we styled ourselves especially for the occasion,” adds Oliver Jones, also dressed in blue. After all, they knew from the press photos what the launch colour of the plug-in hybrid would be. The self-confessed “fast drivers” had also arranged the destination for their test drive in the electrified sporty estate in advance: “We took a quick ride to Frankfurt to the stadium,” says Oliver. They were immediately surrounded by interested passers-by. No wonder, with the stylish trio in cobalt blue. Anne Jung prefers a different colour combination: “Arctic white with a black roof – beautiful!” After all, both colleagues had already had ample opportunity to study the sporty lines and colour variations. As 3D modellers in design, they were digital midwives of the bold estate.

Haiyan Yu was one of the key engineers in the development of the Sports Tourer.

As Technical Manager and Quality Manager for the Astra Sports Tourer, Haiyan Yu has already covered quite a few kilometres in the new estate. “The quietness inside the vehicle and the comfort are outstanding – the commute to and from work is always a little wellness trip for me,” she enthuses. She is already looking forward to going on a longer trip. “With the load space – almost 600 litres even with the rear seats up – and the certified AGR seats, the Sports Tourer is the perfect travel companion,” she says. Especially at night: “The adaptive Intelli-Lux® Pixel Light system with 168 LED elements – 84 per headlight – turns night into day without dazzling oncoming traffic. A highlight in the truest sense of the word!”

“The Sports Tourer
is the perfect
travel companion.”

When we could not find the shark that Opel traditionally hides its models, we received assistance from the expert.
Haiyan Yu is the technology manager for the Sports Tourer and she knows exactly where the shark is hidden – in the boot.
The shark decorates a hook for holding shopping bags, one of the many clever details in the boot.

July 2022

Photos: Marcus Weinert, Andreas Liebschner