A lively beat coming from the speakers, a camera pan across the Vizor front, a final cut to the Opel Blitz, a flurry of flashbulbs. A NEW BLITZ IS BORN. The day that ushers in a new era is called an epoch: it is September 1, 2021. Uwe Hochgeschurtz is leaning against the new Opel Astra. What a way to ring in his first day as Opel CEO. Together with Opel brand ambassador Jürgen Klopp, he flanks the golden-yellow premiere vehicle, the sixth, completely redesigned generation of the compact model.
▼ A memorable first day as the new Opel CEO: Uwe Hochgeschurtz in a flurry of flashbulbs.
Photographers capture the moment in K-48 on the Rüsselsheim plant premises, just a few metres from the production halls where the newcomer is built. New Opel boss, new Astra – it’s a special premiere. Not only because the model represents the brand with the Blitz like no other. The day marks an e-poch: for the first time, the Astra is also available electrified – as a plug-in hybrid and, as just announced, from 2023 as a pure battery-electric variant. This is the rational side of the new Astra at a time when CO2 is the new currency in the automotive industry.
▲ 180 journalists were present on site for the premiere, 500 additional media representatives joined via livestream.
◀ A successful premiere: Also for Kerstin Capehart – she is new to the Opel Event Team and the Astra premiere is the first event she organised.
Der Astra hat vor allem auch eine emotionale Seite, er begeistert: „Dieser Blitz macht die Straßen schöner“ hatte die Bild-Zeitung bereits naThe Astra also has a strong emotional side, it spurs excitement: after the first photos were published, Bild Zeitung already wrote, “This Blitz model makes the streets more beautiful”.
▼ Does the premiere host’s smile look familiar? Then you probably belong to the music television generation. Kimsy von Reischach was an MTV presenter in the 90s. She still sports her trademark short hair today.
The premiere of premieres
Kerstin Capehart closely watched the world premiere from the side of the stage. How did she start the epochal day? “Mainly very early,” she says with a laugh. For many weeks she worked towards this day, together with a large team: “The way everyone came together, the team spirit is outstanding.” The Astra premiere was also one for the project manager herself. It was the first event she was responsible for since she moved from Opel purchasing to the event team. And this world premiere was just the beginning.
▲ Dress code or coincidence? Either way, Managing Director Engineering Marcus Lott, brand ambassador Jürgen Klopp, CEO Uwe Hochgeschurtz and Vice President Design Mark Adams (from left) harmonise perfectly with the Astra in “Amber Yellow”.
◀ On-site presence, supplemented by digital components: The four-day event set new standards in efficiency.
„I could hardly have imagined a better time to start at Opel than at this premiere.“
– Opel CEO Uwe Hochgeschurtz –
Because it is not only the new Opel Astra that is trendsetting. The four-day hybrid event also set new standards in terms of efficiency and synergies – on-site presence, taking into account strict COVID protection measures, supplemented by innovative, digital components. On the premiere day, 180 journalists were present on site, 500 additional media representatives joined via livestream. On the following day, the so-called “Brand & Product Day”, there were eight broadcasts for the Opel markets from Portugal to Poland – each in the local language, filled with exciting facts about the design of the new Astra, the new brand face and the leap in time in the interior, the Opel Pure Panel.
▼ The driving footage in the video is spectacular. Where was it shot, Spain perhaps? An enquiry revealed: not quite. The filming location was the Mendig airfield in the Eifel region of Germany.
Every day was tailor-made
Der Freitag und der Samstag gehören exklusiv den Opel-Händlern, Friday and Saturday were exclusively for Opel dealers, with other TV crews, social media representatives, key accounts, sales staff and fleet managers also attending or joining in. There was a tailor-made programme for each visitor group. “With this hybrid concept, we reached many people despite the COVID restrictions,” says Kerstin Capehart. The combination of on-site attendance and virtual events made the world premiere efficient and also more sustainable. Because every trip not taken contributes to reducing CO2.
▲ The customer has the choice: The Astra is available as a plug-in hybrid or with highly efficient petrol and diesel engines. Order books open in October. Astra driving fun starts at €22,465.
► There’s more to come: the Astra Sports Tourer will follow shortly. The battery-electric Astra-e will be launched in 2023.
#TeamOpel made it possible
While setting up the stage with the 21 x 3.70 metre LED screen and the 120 spotlights was all in a day’s work, the stage direction technology, including the image and video technology for the livestreams and broadcasts, was trickier. “This was definitely the most complex event I have ever worked on for Opel,” says Peter Buhl. The managing director of Alpha Audio & Light GmbH has been staging events for Opel for 31 years: “It was a good bit of work, but the learning curve was steep for everyone involved, and the broadcasts went off without a hitch.”
“Whether external service providers, PR colleagues, designers, engineers, the Opel Classic experts, facility management, plant fire brigade, plant security, works council or IT colleagues – the successful premiere was the result of the extraordinary commitment of so many colleagues,” emphasises Kerstin Capehart. It is not only the Opel Astra that marks the dawn of a new era. The world premiere itself – hybrid, emotional and digital – also showcased the opening of this exciting new chapter.
“The premiere was only possible thanks to the great support of so many colleagues.”
– Event Project Manager Kerstin Capehart –
▲ Now in its 11th generation, the new Astra continues a tradition that began 85 years ago: With the Kadett, Opel brought an affordable car onto the market in 1936.
►Another premiere star: Hans Rügner rolled across the stage on a penny-farthing. The Frankfurt native is, after all, a two-time penny-farthing world champion.
▲ #TeamOpel: Peter Buhl, Kerstin Capehart, Celina Schopen de Melo, Madeline Raabe and Thomas Schmitt (from left) represent the large team that made the world premiere possible. “There were so many other dedicated colleagues involved – a big thank you to them all,” says Kerstin Capehart, Event Project Manager.