And a 2015 Astra
for the main course





Charming and competent: TV presenter Karen Webb leads through the night.

7 pm, jazz-pop lounge music is coming from the wood-paneled conference room “Globe”. 180 international guests accepted the Opel Group management’s invitation and are now seated at 15 tables at the CEO Dinner. They include editors-in-chief and other key media representatives as well as dealers, fleet customers, marketing experts and politicians. During the gala dinner, salmon and steak are served – but the actual main course is the new Astra and Astra Sports Tourer. The world premieres are unveiled and presented by Opel Group CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann, Vice President Design GM Europe Mark Adams – and GM CEO Mary Barra.


The GM CEO, number one on Fortune Magazine’s list of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business“, is impressed by the success of GM’s European organization, by the over 30,000 orders already received for the new Astra, by the innovative connectivity of the OnStar system and by the performance of Opel/Vauxhall employees. “The team has really demonstrated its innovative power with the new Astra. I am proud of this team.”



As starter Opel serves world premiere number 1: Design Chief Mark Adams raves about the style of the new Astra. Adams finishes his short speech with a wink: He says, he could easily speak for another hour.



As main course, there is world premiere number 2: Karl-Thomas Neumann and Mary Barra reveal the Astra Sports Tourer.



Benchmark in the compact class: Mary Barra certifies the Opel/Vauxhall team a very good job.


“With the new Astra, the team has demonstrated a tremendous innovational power. I am proud of this team.”

– Mary Barra –
General Motors CEO

And Mary Barra  is sure the team is capable of achieving much more. She announces some important news on the European product and model offensive. “We will speed up the model offensive at Opel/Vauxhall: From 2016 to 2020, we will launch 29 new vehicles including an electric vehicle and a second flagship alongside the Insignia. This all-new SUV will be produced in Rüsselsheim by the end of decade and will give the brand a further technological boost.” The goal for the future is clearly defined: Opel/Vauxhall have their sets firmly set on becoming the second largest automaker on the European market by 2022 after securing third place on the European Union passenger car market last year.

One of the key technologies moving forward is autonomous driving – something GM and Opel are working on aggressively. “We’ll see more changes in the auto industry in the next five to ten years than we saw in the past 50 years,” said Barra who also outlined that a world with zero crashes was the vision. “The new Opel Astra with all its active safety systems is an important step into that direction,” she added.


Opel on the eve of the first press day of the IAA: a noble framework, fantastic world premieres plus loungy jazz-pop.





In the afternoon GM CEO Mary Barra welcomed 100 Opel employees at the Hilton Airport Hotel in Frankfurt. This exclusive meeting titled “Meet the CEO XXL” lasted nearly one hour and Ulrich Schumacher, Vice President HR & Labor Director Opel Group, and Johan Willems, Vice President Communications Opel Group, supported and moderated the discussion as representatives of the Opel Group leadership team. “It is very important for us to maintain and enhance direct dialogue with our employees,” said Johan Willems. “Meetings like this have proved to be an outstanding platform in that process,” confirmed Ulrich Schumacher. But this “XXL” format was a first. Around 100 employees from a wide range of functional areas and

different locations in Germany were chosen at random to take part in the extraordinary event. Participants concluded it was “a successful premiere in every regard”. The employees praised the great atmosphere and Mary Barra’s openness as she thoroughly responded to the many questions and suggestions regarding current company topics. For her part, Mary Barra was impressed by the reception she received and the participants’ high levels of interest and knowledge as well as their strong identification with the company. She stressed the global importance of the new Astra for the company and expressed her confidence that this car will make a significant contribution to achieving the company’s ambitious goals.

← Mary Barra is IAA Special Guest and protagonist of videocast # 26 by Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann – taken during the event at Hilton Squaire.



← The day started at the Hilton Frankfurt Airport Squaire with interviews for various print, online and TV media. Pictured: Karl-Thomas Neumann, Mary Barra and Johan Willems, Vice President Communications Opel Group (from left).






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Photos: Axel Wierdemann