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Innovative small car concept
Opel Frogster - Fresh Fun-Car for the Next Generation

Frankfurt, Germany (ots)

  • Cross-reference: photos were sent via satellite and are available at:
  • Provocative and practical - Quick-change artist: all-in-one roadster, convertible and pick-up - Roller cover replaces conventional roof, PDA supercedes conventional instruments
It's as green and fresh as the Opel 'Laubfrosch' (Tree Frog) of
the 1920s, as confident and provocative as today's youngsters. With
their 'Frogster' concept Opel's designers and engineers have
reinvented today's small car concept, presenting a host of fresh
ideas for the next generation of car buyers. Instead of a
conventional convertible top, the study has an electrically powered
roller cover to provide weather protection. It offers a choice of
configurations: With four individually foldable seats, the driver can
turn the Frogster into a one or two-seat roadster, three or four-seat
convertible or a pick-up - all at the push of a button. When it's
time to park, the cover slides forward - like a shutter - to close at
the base of the windshield.
In addition, this bright green quick-change artist features a
mini-computer installed in the center of the dashboard. The Frogster
is thus always in its driver's pocket because this 'PDA' is not just
a Personal Digital Assistant but also a radio-controlled 'car key'
and roller-cover operator. When integrated in the Frogster's center
console, the PDA also becomes a display for the radio, navigation and
climate control systems.
"We asked ourselves what a car for the 'Playstation generation'
would have to look like," recalls Hans Seer, Director of Design at
Opel. "We came up with words like 'small, price-friendly, open' on
the one hand and concepts like 'young, exciting, fresh' on the
other." The result, in the words of Stefan Arndt, Chief Designer for
the Frogster project, "is a completely open runabout with a high belt
line, extreme variability in the interior and fun bodywork details."
The design study, with dimensions of 3715 x 1680 x 1530 millimeters
(length x width x height), also has typical Opel features like the
large trapezoid-shaped front-end, clearly accentuated wheel arches
with 175/55 R 15 tires and three-dimensional headlamps and
taillights. The concept car also features a number of practical
details including step-like running boards and large hand-grips on
the rear. Two small loading hatches behind the doors provide access
to the load area even when the roller cover is closed.
Crazy but Cool: Roller Cover is Roof and Trunk Lid in One
The Frogster is powered - like the Corsa Eco - by the lively
ECOTEC 1.0 12V gasoline unit (43kW/58 hp) and equipped with the
innovative Easytronic automated manual gearbox. The most surprising
feature is undoubtedly the roller cover, which serves as both a
convertible top and load-area cover. It is made out of sturdy
aluminum sections connected with rubber inserts, which make the cover
waterproof and prevent rattling. This completely new element in
automotive construction has long since passed its practical test
under the hardest possible conditions - the same kind of roller cover
is positioned vertically on the side of fire engines and used to
secure the life-saving equipment on board.
In the Frogster, the 1.30 meter-long protective cover is rolled up
by an integrated electric motor at the rear. When the roller cover is
fully retracted and the rear seats are folded down, the little green
car is configured like a pick-up truck with a load length of 1250
millimeters. When all four seats are up, the load area is 650
millimeters long. In addition, the front passenger seat can be folded
down so that even surfboards can fit inside the car. In this
configuration, one passenger can sit on the rear seat behind the
When the roller cover is moved up over the load area, the Frogster
becomes a four-seat convertible with a 500 millimeter-high trunk
which can still hold 280 liters (according to VDA). The next
configuration makes the Frogster a two-seat roadster with 750-liter
trunk, and the rear seat backrests folded forward. The final
configuration, where the roller cover is unrolled to its full length
of three meters (within 25 seconds) the vehicle is completely covered
for protection from the elements while the vehicle is parked. In this
guise, the front seat backs fold out of the way as well, the steering
wheel is tilted a few degrees downwards, and the cover locks at the
lower edge of the windshield.
The sophisticated simplicity of the car's weather protection
continues in the interior. The material chosen for the four seats is
similar to the neoprene used in surfers' body suits. There is also a
mobile phone - an obligatory item in the hip world of the Frogster  -
positioned between the front seats and held firmly in place in a
neoprene holder. The advantage of this material is that occasional
showers will not leave any lasting traces if the roller cover is
Operated by PDA: Part of the Frogster is Always with You
A detachable PDA offers Frogster drivers a new way to link up
their in-car and out-of-car lives. In a sense, the Frogster is with
them wherever they go, in their coat or trouser pocket. This isn't
just 'mega-cool', it's practical, too. The driver's favorite music,
for example, can be stored in MP3 format and is available at all
times.  When it's hooked up to the vehicle, it plays through the
in-car audio system for greatly enhanced sound. And the mobile in-car
computer can do even more: it can open and close the doors and set
the roller cover to the desired position via remote control.
The modern mini-computer, when integrated in the dashboard, can
display important comfort-related functions such as climate control
settings. The 110 x 50 millimeter digital display fitted in front of
the driver is dedicated to such typical automotive functions as
speed, rpm, fuel, Easytronic gear display, as well as the usual
indicator and full beam lamps.
The name "Frogster" comes from a chapter of Opel's eventful
history. In 1924, the company enjoyed a huge amount of success with a
4/12 hp small, open road car, that people called the "Tree Frog"
because of its green color. Designer Stefan Arndt recalls: "Everyone
knows how excited we all are about the Speedster. When we were
working on this concept car, someone suddenly called out: 'Let's
paint it green and call it the Frogster.' We all agreed it was
For now, there are no specific plans to put the Frogster into
production. The aim of the concept car is to test the acceptance of
new ideas among the primarily young target market. "With the
Frogster, we want to appeal to future generations of car drivers,"
explains Opel Chairman and Managing Director, Carl-Peter Forster, "It
shows just how creative our engineers and designers can be." And, in
Forster's eyes, it is also proof "that practical cars can be anything
but boring."
ots Original Text Service: Adam Opel AG


Adam Opel AG
65423 Ruesselsheim
Phone +49 (0) 6142 7-77340,
7-72826 or 7-70
Fax +49 (0) 6142 7-78353

Original content of: Opel Automobile GmbH, transmitted by news aktuell