By on July 24, 2012

Today, blogs from Autoblog to Worldcarfans are tripping over themselves, knowing for sure that Opel will launch, as soon as next year, its top-of-the line car, that it will be the Opel Omega, and that it will be based on the Cadillac XTS. (Heck, isn’t that thing based on an Opel-developed Epsilon II anyway?)  The trouble is: It’s all made up. Let’s investigate the making of the Great Lie of the Day.

Today’s Great Lie can be traced all the way back to Germany’s Auto-News. In case you have never heard of it: You don’t have to. Because the story is in German, the blogs turn to Worldcarfans.com for help. Too bad the German linguist at Worldcarfans must be courtesy of Google translate.

Would the worldly Worldcarfans know a little Deutsch, they would notice that Auto-News pulled the story out of thin air. The only source it names is “the usually well informed” Saabsunited. Did they find out that the XTS will become an Omega? Nope. Auto-News says that Saabsunited found in the files of bankrupt Saab that the company had trademarked “9-8.”

That in itself would not be an earth shattering revelation. It gets worse. The story in Saabsunited is as old as April 12, 2012 (yes, April 12, 2012), and it goes like this:

“From Saab’s bankruptcy documentation a number of attachments can be found, one interesting item concerns registered names. And in that list of names the Saab 9-8 can be found. According to a source to SaabsUnited the 9-8 was supposed to be an Audi A8 type of sports saloon. A serious big luxury car which could compete at the very top level. Other cars in that segment are the BMW 7-series, Mercedes-Benz S-class, Jaguar XJ and Lexus LS430.”

Yawn. See anything about Opel? Omega? Cadillac? XTS? Thank you. I thought I might be blind.

It’s summertime. Stories are few and far between. Auto-News editor Gregor Hebermehl needs a story. He has a few beers and starts to speculate: Now what could be the platform for that Siebener Killer of Saab? Must be the XTS. Ok, ok. But Saab is dead, right? Herr Hebermehl sees with horror that he has just 179 words, and he already is at a dead end, what with Saab being bankrupt. Hebermehl promised to deliver more than 700 words. After a big gulp of Weissbier and an even bigger leap of faith, he comes to the conclusion that “The former Saab mother GM must want to sell the XTS platform under one of its European brands. In Germany, this would mean Opel. In the UK Vauxhall.”

After this compelling piece of logic has been typed, Hebermehl needs a name for that inter-company technology transfer. Later, Leftlanenews will write: “The XTS would reportedly be branded as the Omega, which has served as the nameplate for past Opel flagships.” Reportedly? To warrant a reportedly, someone needs to report something.

Herr Hebermehl reports just this: “Whether Rüsselsheim’s new upper class will carry the name Omega as desired by Opel fans, is an open question. Opel is unpredictable when it comes to names.” That’s it. Even after a few beers, Herr Hebermehl has not consumed enough liquid courage to outright say that it will be an Omega. That dirty job will be left to the car blogs.

In reputable car publications such as Autoevolution, which subscribe to the “if Google finds it, it must be true” editorial philosophy, Herr Hebermehl’s open question morphs into “Opel will be bringing back the Omega.” Oh, and by the way:The information comes from Opel’s ex-CEO, Karl-Friedrich Stracke.”

No, it does not. It comes out of Herr Hebermehl’s Weissbier. He orders another one and writes about the technical specs of the new Omega. Easy. He simply copies the specs of the XTS, converted to metric. Wait, this is Germany, it needs a diesel engine. Herr Hebermehl buys one from BMW and puts it into the Opel. Another beer, and the car gets a “limited slip differential from Haldex,” and as the beers start beginning to do their job, the car gets “anti-doze electronics and a blind angle warner, a lane departure prevention system and a touch screen with gesture recognition.”

Finally, the 700 words are in reach. Hebermehl calls Opel and asks assistant manager Michael Blumenstein whether his Omega concept is a good one. “No comment” says Blumenstein.

“A clear denial sounds different,” types a proud Hebermehl, and hits send. At the Auto-News offices, someone fires up Photoshop and starts to badge engineer.

Nobody in Germany copies the story. Tons of blogs in the US do. Too bad they had to get the lies second-hand from Worldcarfans. At TTAC, you get your lies straight from the source.

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33 Comments on “Out Of Thin Air: Great Lies Of The Carblogs. Today: Cadillac XTS Turns Into Opel Omega...”


  • avatar
    dukeofurl

    The chances of the XTS becoming a badge engineered Omega are about
    -150%. Its negative territory because thats what GM is geeting in earnings from Opel.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    As a PR spokesdroid, how would you deal with that if you work for GM or Opel? Ignore it and hope it goes away? Use it as fodder for marketing meetings? Give out mixed signals of maybe but no it doesn’t exist to stimulate news? Free pub is free pub.

  • avatar
    Glen.H

    MY imaginary Omega will be based on the Holden Caprice and have an imaginary V8 hybrid drivetrain. It will also be a four door convertable hardtop!

  • avatar
    Josh McCullough

    Again with the attacks on other auto journalists/blogs/sites.

  • avatar

    Perhaps the Saab 9.8 would have been based on an even more upmarket Cadillac. Automotive News yesterday reported from “unnamed sources” that GM has greenlighted a Cadillac flagship upmarket from the XTS. Supposedly it will be based on a new RWD Omega platform and come to market in 2015. Two bad GM killed the advanced Cadillac V8 during the meltdown in ’08-’09. As great engines as the LSx variants are, I think Cadillac needs a brand exclusive motor.

    • 0 avatar

      Won’t happen. GM can justify one V8 powertrain family easily enough, but justifying two isn’t in the cards anymore. If Cadillac ever again gets a “brand exclusive motor”, I predict that it’ll be a tiny-volume hand-built V12 (or V16) for super-high-end cars aimed mostly at Chinese zillionaires… and someone, somewhere, will get ahold of one and stuff it in a Camaro.

  • avatar

    It’d be a different world without you Bertel

  • avatar

    Also the LS430 doesn’t exist anymore heh heh

  • avatar
    mitchw

    The click potential of this Omega reveal is awaiting a denial from GM, whereupon the BS gets piled a little higher since the new lie is that they had considered such a car, aber nein, leide. (Sorry, I’m reading Ryan Holiday)

  • avatar
    Toucan

    Why didn’t Omega catch on? There was Senator, two generations of it and then it just stopped. Either the market for large non-premium sedans/estates in Europe has ceased to exist at some point or GM “pulled a Saab” and refused to keep the model competitive for just too many years.

    PS. I like the “inflated Insignia” concept. Someone thinks he is Audi/BMW and can afford the same styling scheme they can.

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      Why do they call the Omega a flagship model? The Senator was Opel’s flagship, not much of a flagship thou – more Ch navy then RN, so to speak – but at least an effort, so I’m not getting calling the Omega a flagship. The only Omega that even Opel – in it’s infinite boredom – would accuse of being a flagship was the LOTUS Omega (Carlton if you prefer gimmicky cars) , the rest was just a large boring blob of a car.

      The Omega died because: 1, the market for non premium large cars died (much as it did in the US where it where replaced with Pickups sans bed but with really big cabs) The Ford Scorpio was killed, the Peugeot 605 or 607 was hardly a resounding success, Renault Safrane wasn’t a hit, Volvo moved upmarket and so forth. 2 The Opel was – like it usually is – the worst of the bunch, cheaply built, not much spent on development and nothing on refinement. I would say that the handling, ride comfort, interior fit and finish where at about the same level in the last year of Omega production as the Scorpio was in it’s first year.

      • 0 avatar
        Rental Man

        Market is not dead. It is sold as the Skoda Superb. Large, Non premium. Based on VW.
        BTW the Omega was not that sizable.

      • 0 avatar
        MeaCulpa

        @Rental Man
        Market not dead? Based on the ONE non premium large car sold in europe that’s outsold 4:1 by the Octavia and 5:2 by the Fabia. Anyway, skoda manages to sell quite a few Superbs in Europe, but what competition do they have?

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Surely the European market XTS will be sold as the Opel Senator.

  • avatar
    vent-L-8

    doesn’t look bad in the picture, just sayin…

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    When GM was working on unvieling the new Camaro, there were rumors going around that GM was going to switch back to all RWD cars. This was by wishful thinking when the then new 2005 Chrysler 300 was brought out. There were ‘insiders’ who ‘swore’ there would be new Novas, Chevelles, Caprices, and even wagons.

  • avatar
    amac

    In a world where Chryslers are rebranded as Lancias, the Caddy/Opel rumour seemed almost plausible.

  • avatar
    cannyfriar

    It’s all becoming clear. The Malaysian government and DRB-Hicom need a retro-based halo product for Lotus Cars, so they get in touch with GM to ask about how the Omega’s getting on these days. Shocked to find that it no longer exists, they buyt Herrn Hebermehl some beers and seed the XTS story via some documents they found lying around in Trollhättan referring to the secret Saab 9-8 project name. A few logical connections later and…

    The Lotus Omega is dead! Long live the Lotus Omega! (or Carlton, if you’re British)

  • avatar

    This just didn’t make sense from the start. Cadillac is one of GM’s two anointed “global brands”. The XTS isn’t getting rebadged as anything; if they wanted it in Europe (which I doubt they do; this is a stopgap car intended to hold the fort for a few more years with legacy Cadillac customers who want to replace their Devilles), they’d roll it out as a Cadillac.

  • avatar

    I am glad to hear that most of the correspondents like to know that they are being snowed, and that only a tiny few want the snowing to continue unimpeded and unmentioned.

    Stay tuned for the next episode of ‘Out of thin air’ – or should we call it “The lies about cars?”

    FYI, the new version of our FAQ says: “We appreciate suggestions of what to cover, we do not appreciate suggestions of what to ignore.”

    • 0 avatar
      p0mg

      I love it. Can’t understand why some people are all angry about this “smearing” of other websites, the truth is the truth, etc.

      It really is amazing just how much complete and utter bullshit passes for news these days. And since most of the sites have no original content (unlike TTAC), they pile on and copy/paste it straight to the homepage without any fact checking. And other than this site, I’ve NEVER seen anyone called out for this practice.

      Anywho, keep up the good work, looking forward to the series.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    For a stealth version, GM will resurrect the name Aurora. The stealth version will go Mach 6 and will be able to photograph a pimple on a monkey’s bum from 100,000 feet.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Moving forward, (Non-Escalade) Cadillacs will ALWAYS have unique sheetmetal that won’t be shared with ANY other GM division. Full stop. You can take that to the bank.

    Reportedly ;)


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