Opel Corsa: design images

Production Cars 4 Sep 2006
Opel Corsa: design images

An extensive gallery of design sketches and photos from the development stages of the new Opel Corsa, including the designers’ comments and technical details about the design process of the interiors.

Concept and market targets

Opel Corsa Design SketchThe sporty three-door Corsa particularly appeals to customers that marketing experts call “progressive modern mainstream”: young adults up to their mid 30s, with no children yet and with ambitious career plans, medium to high incomes and consider Internet and mobile telephones just as indispensable as a car.

These consumers see exterior vehicle design as a reflection of their personalities, and place great value on sporty driving characteristics coupled with high active safety.

The five-door model, with its longer roof line and larger side windows, has two main target groups: families with children on board, and people who are in their 30-50 years, looking for safety, value for money and versatility.

Opel Corsa Design Sketch Opel Corsa Design Sketch

Opel Corsa Design Sketch
Niels Loeb, Chief Designer
Bryan Nesbitt
, Executive Director Design, GM Europe explains “The new Corsa builds on our commitment to offer dynamic vehicles regardless of the segment. The fashion conscious exterior coupled with a refreshingly innovative interior hope to exceed the target customers’ expectations.

"Like the Astra, the Corsa renders a completely unique design for the three-door versus the five-door. In short, these are tailor-made cars for different types of customers."

According to Niels Loeb, Chief Designer, Corsa Studio "It’s OK to be daring, especially when it’s our striking new coupé-like three-door Corsa. And look at its face – bright eyes with a cheeky grin.

"That’s just what we wanted the design to be – unique both inside and out, giving the owner a lasting sense of feel-good factor."


Opel Corsa Design SketchLarge, iconic headlamps mimic the Corsa´s suave, energetic personality, further enhanced by the design of the lower front bumper which articulates a friendly smile.

The steeply raked A-pillars are extended forward, optically shortening the front hood and concentrating the bulk of the body between the axles.

The exterior mirrors mounted on the body shoulder come with power adjustment as standard, enabling an additional small, triangular window in front that improves forward visibility.

Opel Corsa Design SketchThe three-door Corsa only shares the five-door’s front fenders, bumper, headlamps, hood and A-pillar. Its rear window inclines at a significantly steeper angle, coupled with an almost coupé-style roof line.

This look is emphasized by the side-window graphics reminiscent of the Astra GTC, forming a large, stretched arch from the A-pillar to the rear.

Pronounced fenders over the rear wheels highlight the Corsa’s powerful, sporty stance, while the rear window tapers downwards accentuating the characteristic V-shaped rear theme, a typical trademark of the Opel form language.

The five-door Corsa´s window line resembles that of the five-door Astra, but has a unique C-pillar transition to the rear window.

Interior Design

Opel Corsa Design SketchThe stylish interior design with high-quality materials and clever new features creates a warm and inviting atmosphere. Turn buttons for climate control, radio and lighting are backlit.

The Lighting Package (reading lights, footwell lighting) in the Cosmo and Sport variants comes with further translucent control buttons. Piano-lacquer finish used in selected equipment variants on the center console, with a matching finish on the steering wheel spokes and air-conditioning vent rings, is of a much higher quality than normal in this class.

The steering column is height and reach-adjustable, while the height-adjustable driver’s seat, which is also standard, ensures that drivers can easily find and set their optimum individual seating position.

The angled center console is optimized for reach and visibility, and the many large and small storage compartments offer plenty of space for stowing all kinds of items.

A high-quality first impression of the interior is dependent on design, the materials used, the fits – and the graining of the surfaces. At the same time, these no longer have to be "grained" in the original sense of the term, when the surface of the instrument panel, side cladding, storage areas and many other parts were almost exclusively finished in sympa-thy with the graining of the tanned animal hide.

Today, finely fashioned patterns or geometrical textures are the order of the day. They are sometimes evocative of leather and, not uncommonly with a little imagination, parts of plants or even finely sprayed raindrops. Responsibility for implementing the current design concept has been assumed – in close consultation with the General Motors Design Center Europe in Rüsselsheim – by specialists working for highly qualified suppliers who develop special tools for different surface finishes for the interior components.

The elaborate "graining" process starts with the designers’ ideas and drafts. Inspired by crocodile skin, nut grains, honeycomb, lemon peel or even the dully-shimmering skin of an Amazonian frog, the creative geniuses transfer their ideas for the surface finish of the in-terior parts onto the screen. From this graphical master, known as the "grain concept", a black and white film is first produced before all patterns and structures are coated with an acid-resistant varnish. The film is then fitted into the tools with millimeter accuracy.

In the following step, known as "photo-chemical etching", nitric acid or hydrochloric acid is used to dissolve those parts of the tool metal that have not been covered by the acid-resistant varnish on the film. This leaves behind the required pattern, i.e. the surface design is completely transferred to the metal mold, which will emboss plastic or metal sur-faces such as polyamide, vinyl or aluminum in later batch production. The dwell time in the acid bath, between two and three minutes at 22 to 25 degrees Celsius, determines the depth of etching, which lies between 0.12 and 0.3 mm. In the case of multiple etching – the "multilayer process" – different depths and therefore particularly plastic, three-dimensional textures are achieved.

The most important quality factor in the implementation process is the handwork: the retouching of the film when fitting it into the tool before the etching process. In order to achieve absolutely clean transitions in the structure of the interior surfaces at the edges and bends, which occur with a number of components, experienced specialists work with a magnifying glass, scalpel and touch-up pens to harmonize the sections of film, which are immediately adjacent to one another as separate segments in the tool. This activity, which is dependent on outstandingly fine motor functions and requires comprehensive graphical knowledge, creativity and patience, has not as yet been replaced by any elec-tronics. And when designing and finishing the surface design, there must be no disturbing refraction on the finished component, as a matt and reflection-free surface that is unob-trusive and ultimately safe for the driver is required.

Opel Corsa Design SketchCreatively designed surfaces in the automobile are gaining in importance.

A general development is that more and more consumer goods, including for example cell phones, electrical equipment and kitchen utensils, have textured surfaces that borrow from nature.

This is particularly so in those places where the human hand acts as a sensor. The artistic efforts are enormous: 200 design concepts for widely differing surfaces have been developed for the new Opel Corsa alone.

Design Process – Image Gallery

Opel Corsa - Clay Model Opel Corsa - Designers at work
Opel Corsa - Designers at work Opel Corsa - Virtual Reality
Opel Corsa - Interior Design Opel Corsa - Model milling

Three and five-door Corsa Body data


3999 mm

Width (3-door / 5-door)

1713  / 1737 mm


1488 mm


2511 mm

Track front/rear

1485 / 1478 mm

Curb weight (1.2 ECOTEC, manual transmission) 3/5-door

1130 / 1160 kg


500 kg

(Source: Opel)

Image Gallery

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