|Opel Vectra History|
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The Opel Vectra is a medium-sized family car produced by Opel, the main European subsidiary of General Motors. In the United Kingdom, it is sold as a Vauxhall. It is also sold in Australasia as a Holden and in Latin America as a Chevrolet, although this will change during 2005-06.
The first Vectra, known as the Vectra A, was introduced in 1988 as a sedan and hatchback, replacing the Opel Ascona. A coupe based on the Vectra, called the Calibra, was also sold. Both cars were designed by then-Opel design chief Wayne Cherry. Vauxhall did not adopt the Vectra name, retaining its own name Cavalier until 1995.
Engines ranged initially from a 75 hp DIN (55 kW) 1.4 L to a 130 hp DIN (96 kW) 2.0 L. With the introducting of Euro I emissions regulations, the base model was replaced by a 1.6 L with the same output, while the top of the line was given to a 16-valve version of the 2.0 L engine, which powered the GT version and had 150 hp DIN (110 kW). 4WD versions were added to the line-up in 1990, and in 1993 the car received a limited edition turbocharged version with 204 hp DIN (150 kW). Diesel power came from an Isuzu 1.7 L engine, in both aspirated and turbocharged form, this one capable of achieving 82 hp DIN (60 kW). The Vectra received a mid-life refreshing in 1993.
In New Zealand, the Vectra A was offered initially as an Opel, but it wore Holden badges from 1994. It was not sold in Australia, where Holden instead offered a badge-engineered Toyota Camry called the Apollo until 1997.
In Brazil, the Chevrolet-badged Vectra A was not introduced until 1993, when it replaced the Chevrolet Monza, a restyled version of the last Ascona.
The second model, the Vectra B, was introduced in 1995, and the model range included a station wagon version for the first time. There was no coupe. This model replaced the Vauxhall Cavalier in the UK, and the Holden Apollo in Australia. In 1998, Holden began assembly of the Vectra for export to other right-hand-drive markets in the region, although this was aversely affected by the Asian economic crisis, and ended in 2001. The Vectra B is still sold in Brazil.
Engines started from the 75 hp 1.6 L, but eventually the 8 valve engines were all replaced by 16 valve powerplants. The 2.0 L engine, with 136 hp DIN (100 kW) was developed as a basis for touring car racing, but the top of the line was a 2.5 L V6 powered by Cosworth, with 170 hp DIN (125 kW). Diesel power came once again from Isuzu, but now featured direct injection and 16 valve heads.
A related model sold in the United States is the Saturn L-series. The L-series dated from 2000 and was cancelled in 2005, due to poor sales.
Introduced in 2003, the current model, the Vectra C (or ZC in Holden terms), is built in Germany, Belgium, and the United Kingdom, and is based on the GM Epsilon platform. It is also assembled in Egypt, along with the two previous versions. A four-door sedan is the staple model, while the five-door hatchback, known as the Vectra GTS, is meant to recall cult models from Opel in the past such as the Commodore GTE of the 1970s and has a different front bumper.
Engine range was substantially modified to account for the more sportive GTS model (and an increased curb weight). While a 122 hp DIN (90 kW) 1.8 Ecotec powerplant was the base model, the more interesting versions used a 2.0 L turbocharged engine and a new 3.2 L V6, with 211 hp DIN (155 kW). Diesel representation, now important for commercial success in Europe, was first provided by Isuzu (a 3.0 L V6 is still retained), but the four cylinders engines were replaced by Fiat-designed units with 1.9 L, capable of 150 hp DIN (110 kW).
In the UK, the five-door is not considered a specialty model. In Australasia, it is considered more upmarket, though not to the same extent as in Europe. A station wagon version, called Caravan in Germany, was released for the 2004 model year.
Interestingly, the same platform that underpins this Vectra also underpins the Saab 9-3 (Sweden) and the current Chevrolet Malibu and Pontiac G6 (North America).
Chevrolet Vectra and Holden Vectra
While the Vectra C is sold in Mexico as a Chevrolet, it is not sold in Brazil, where a new, locally designed Vectra sedan, based on the smaller Astra was released in October 2005. Similarly, in Australia and New Zealand, the European-sourced Vectra is likely to be dropped during 2006 and replaced with a version of the new Daewoo Magnus, which may be sold under the Vectra name.