Background Lifestyle & Fun

Why Opel hides sharks in its cars

August 15, 2022


True Opel fans immediately start looking for a shark when the brand introduces a new model. Miniatures of the animal at the top of the marine food chain have intrigued occupants of Opels for years. Now also in the new Astra Sports Tourer.

Opel Astra Sports Tourer

There is a shark hidden somewhere in the interior of most Opel models, such as the Mokka-e and Corsa-e. In the latest generation of the compact station wagon, there are actually two – one in the front and one in the back.

“The sharks hidden in the new Opel Astra and Sports Tourer show our designers’ passion for the smallest details,” says Karim Giordimaina, Design Director at Opel. “Our customers can feel that passion and the Opel sharks have really become a cult. This also shows again how close the Opel brand is to its drivers.”

Sunday afternoon 2004

The idea of the “Opel Shark” began on a Sunday afternoon in 2004, when Opel designer and amateur diver Dietmar Finger was working at home on a sketch for the then-new Corsa. He pondered the side panel of the glove box lid, which is usually invisible from the outside because it is hidden behind the closed passenger door. When the glovebox is open, the side panel must provide the necessary rigidity to the design, hence the ribs on the plastic surface.

Idea of Dietmar’s son

Dietmar was tasked with drawing the shape of these ribs. During the drawing process, his little son walked by him and looked at the sketch. He said, “Daddy, why don’t you just draw a shark?” “Indeed, why not!”, thought Dietmar and he gave the ribs the shape of a shark. A design gimmick was born. The next day, Dietmar presented his design to Niels Loeb, the then Corsa Chief Designer.

Permanent place

Loeb was immediately hooked on the idea. The shark in the glove box went into production and the “Opel Shark” was born. The Zafira followed. Karim Giordimaina, then responsible for the interior design of the Zafira, hid three sharks in the interior of the MPV. More and more sharks then got a permanent yet hidden place in Opel interiors, first in the Adam, followed by the Astra and then in models like the Crossland and SUV flagship Grandland.

Meanwhile, every interior designer has hidden a shark or two in every new Opel. Its exact location remains secret, even to top management. As a result, the fish remains hidden until introduction of the car. This creates an interesting search both for people inside and outside the company.