The German automaker’s mainstream compact has lost its Kadett name a long time ago, but the heritage of the moniker is still long lasting and acknowledged accordingly within the company.
The Opel Kadett has now reached an important threshold, having been around for the past 80 years – longer than any of its competitors. The name has changed to Astra, but the lineage can be easily and directly traced back in time. No less than 11 generations have appeared so far and the first one was released back in 1936. It was an advanced car and while production ended in 1940 with the onset of WWII it afterwards reappeared behind the Iron Curtain as a model made by East German manufacturer Moskwitch. The Kadett name resurfaced back in 1962 with the Kadett A and production spanned through the D generation before turning into the Astra in 1991.
And this move was actually a switch – the British counterpart Vauxhall was using it for the past two generations of the Kadett. Regarded as a direct continuation of the line, new Astra generations appeared afterwards in 1998, 2004, 2009, and 2015. No less than 24 million Kadetts and Astras have been sold over this extensive period of time – which is a major feat for a car specifically targeting just one, relatively small continent.