The first Vectra was introduced in 1988 as a sedan and hatchback, replacing the Opel Ascona. Vauxhall did not adopt the Vectra name, retaining its own name Cavalier until 1995. In New Zealand, the Vectra was originally sold as an Opel, but from 1994, was sold as a Holden.
The second model Vectra was introduced in 1995, and the model range also included a station wagon version for the first time. In 1998, assembly of the Vectra began in Australia for export to other right hand drive markets in the region, although this ended in 2001.