The car was based on an unusual concept of a very large hatchback with a nearly vertical tailgate. Its dimensions place it between traditional large family cars and executive cars. In most markets, it was also priced accordingly (more expensive than the Opel Vectra, but less than e.g. Audi A6). The Opel Signum was intended to capture a whole new market segment.
General Motors, Opel's then parent, executed a similar concept in North America of a large hatchback with the related 2004 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx, also derived from the Epsilon platform.
From March 2008, the Vauxhall Signum was no longer listed on Vauxhall's current price list, which implied that RHD production ended, and both the Opel Signum and the Opel Vectra were replaced in October 2008 by the Opel Insignia range. From the end of 2005, Pierluigi Collina starred in adverts across Europe for the Signum, as well as the Vectra.
2001 Opel Signum2 Concept
2003–2005 Opel Signum
Although the Signum shares many components with the Vectra, the rear tailgate is completely different
The Signum name was also used on a concept car presented at the 1997 Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland. In August 2001, the name of the car was announced.
In August 2002, the first official pictures of the production Signum were released.
Differences compared to Vectra
The Signum platform is that of the Vectra Estate, meaning that the wheelbase is longer than the hatchback/saloon of the Vectra by 13 cm (5.1 in). This provides for very ample rear legroom. Instead of a traditional three-passenger bench seat the Signum has two separate seats in the rear, offering a range of adjustment capabilities including sliding back and forth (just like the front seats) and reclining backrests.
There is also a very narrow central section, which includes a folding armrest and can also serve as a third seat (the Signum is fitted with three rear headrests and safety belts). The seats can also be folded down individually to increase the cargo space, a system that Opel calls Flexspace.
The Signum shares many body panels (including the complete front part of the body) and interior elements (in particular the complete dashboard and front seats) with the Vectra, but the tailgate and rear fender design is unique to the Signum. The Signum was facelifted along with the Vectra lineup in September 2005, getting a new front fascia design and slight changes elsewhere.