Opel History: Adam Opel got started by making sewing machines and bicycles but died in 1895 before the first car was produced. In 1899 Opel's sons teamed up with a farmer named Friedrich Lutzmann to carry on their father's legacy but the first cars were unpopular and Lutzmann backed out two years later. In 1902 the Opel brothers resurfaced with an all new car built under a licensing agreement with a French automaker, Darracq, under the name 'Opel-Darracq'. The cars were Opel bodies on a Darracq chassis with a two cylinder engine. However, the Opel-Darracq was only produced from 1906 to 1907.
The Opel factory burnt down In 1911 but it was soon replaced with a better facility. By 1913 Opel had become the largest automaker in Germany and by 1924 the factory had an automated assembly line. In 1929 General Motors bought a majority interest and in 1931 bought out the Opel brothers completely.
In 1940 the factories were seized by the Nazi regime and passenger car production was halted until 1947, when the Soviets took over the Opel Kadett as part of war reparations. GM regained control of Opel in 1948 and by 1972 Opel was Germany's largest car maker again. In 1982 GM opened a new factory in Spain to produce the Opel Corsa. The majority stockholder in Opel is now "PSA Peugeot Citroën".
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