The Corsa is built at Zaragoza in Spain, and in other countries such as Germany (Eisenach), Argentina (Rosario), Brazil (São Caetano do Sul and São José dos Campos), Colombia (Bogotá), Mexico (Ramos Arizpe), South Africa (Port Elizabeth), India (Halol), and China (Shanghai).
The front-wheel drive Corsa was first launched in April 1983 to replace the Opel Kadett C City. Built in Zaragoza, Spain, the first Corsas were three-door hatchback and two-door saloon models, with four-door and five-door versions arriving in 1984. The basic model was called just the Corsa, which was followed by the Corsa Luxus, Corsa Berlina and the sporty Corsa SR. Six years later, the Corsa received a facelift, which included a new front fascia and some other minor changes. The models were called LS, GL, GLS and GT. The Corsa was known in the UK market as the Vauxhall Nova.
Power came from 1.0L, 1.2L, 1.3L and 1.4L petroleum engines which were short on performance but strong on economy. There was also a 1.5L diesel engine available, which was also used in the Isuzu Gemini at around the same time. All of these engines (with the exception of the 1.5L diesel engine and 1.0L engine, which were based on the OHV unit from the Kadett C) were based on well proven GM Family II designs. The engines and most of the mechanical components were derived from those used in the Astra/Kadett.
A rare "Sport" model was produced from 1983 in order to homologate for the sub 1300cc class of group A rallying for the British Championship. These sport models had SR suspension, SR engine with twin Weber 40 DCOE carburettors, a bespoke camshaft, close ratio GTE gearbox and few luxurys. This gave 93hp and a top speed of 112mph (180km/h) with a 0-60mph time of 8.9 seconds These are far the rarest models (500 produced) and thus acquire a high market price if one does become available.
A 1.6L multi-point fuel injected engine with 100PS (74kW) and capable of 186km/h (116mph) was later added to the Corsa/Nova, giving decent performance and being badged as a GSi (GTE in pre-facelift models in the UK, later models were all called GSi). A model with an 82PS (60kW) 1.4L multi-point fuel injected engine also became available as the SRi, which was otherwise mechanically identical to the GSi.