Have bike, will travel: the Opel Antara's hideaway bike rack

A few months ago, we told you about the FlexFix integrated bicycle rack in the new Opel/Vauxhall Corsa. It's an ingenious little contraption. The FlexFix system is essentially a drawer that can be pulled out from the car's rear bumper. On it are two wheel-mount bike racks, an extra rear license plate, and supplemental brake lights. When not in use, you wouldn't even know the system was there if not for the drawer cutout. It's the kind of killer innovation that's been sorely lacking from the American automakers for some time.

Now, GM Europe has just announced that the FlexFix system will be offered on the new Opel Antara crossover. Some of you may be asking, "And we care because?"

We care because the Opel Antara and the 2008 Saturn Vue are fundamentally the same vehicle, meaning we're about to see just how serious GM is when it comes to offering American customers the good stuff from Europe. This FlexFix system is exactly the kind of thing we've been missing here for far too long. Simple and brilliant, if it's not an available option on the next Vue, we are going to be very, very disappointed. Don't cheap out on us, General. We're your bread and butter, and we want the good stuff, too.

(More photos, press release after the jump)

[Source: Opel via Kicking Tires]

The FlexFix System:

FlexFix, on the Opel Corsa:

Always Ready: "Flex-Fix" Also in New Opel Antara
  • Integrated carrier system already successfully debuted in new Corsa
  • Practical innovation available for 4WD crossover as of early 2007
Rüsselsheim. Following the successful world premiere of the integrated rear carrier system "Flex-Fix" in the new Corsa, Opel will offer this innovative, exclusive extra with the new Antara as of early 2007. The four-wheel drive crossover Antara is currently debuting at the Paris Motor Show and will be available at Opel dealerships in a few weeks.

Having already established the interior flexibility benchmark with the Zafira's patented "Flex7" seating system, Opel now sets new standards in exterior on-board flexibility with the practical Flex-Fix system. It can carry up to two bicycles and be easily pulled out like a drawer from the rear bumper, so no tools are needed at all. Two major benefits compared to conventional bicycle carriers are the more convenient loading, as bicycles do not need to be lifted as high, and the fact that Flex-Fix is always available, because it is an integral part of the car.

Quick and spontaneous

Owners of SUVs and crossovers like the Antara are often active people who want to transport bicycles, just like the Corsa's young target group. This is where the spontaneity and versatility of Opel's Flex-Fix perfectly matches the needs of these customers. It is capable of transporting loads of 40 kilograms and is suitable for standard bicycle tire sizes of 18 − 28 inches.

In the Trixx concept car at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show, Opel first presented the idea of increasing car cargo capacity with a permanently integrated carrier system that disappears into the body when not in use.

But there was still much work to be done before it could be used in a production car; all important car design specifications, such as crash safety, had to be met without compromise, and the system had to be quick and easy to use, requiring no prior technical knowledge.

Tough tests before use in production cars

As the Flex-Fix system is an integral part of the vehicle, it must conform to Opel's strict requirement that it last the car's lifetime. The steel parts are therefore not only galvanized, but are also primed via cataphoresis and protected by a resilient topcoat to withstand years of abuse from grit and road salt.

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