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Will A Management Change At GM Europe Lead To A New Opel Manta?


A 1971 Opel Manta  Image: Charles01

A 1971 Opel Manta Image: Charles01

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A butterfly in Malaysia flaps its wings, and ultimately a storm system develops in the Caribbean. That’s the rough premise behind chaos theory, which ultimately seeks to relate seemingly random events to one another.

Such is the case in the automotive world as well, where chaos theory is alive and well. GM has announced that the current president of GM Europe, Nick Reilly, will retire next year, after a 37 year career with the automaker in various posts around the globe.

His seat will be taken by Karl Stracke, who is currently the CEO of Opel and Vauxhall. Stracke was picked to run the two companies last March, and did his best to dispel rumors of a pending Opel sale or shut down.

Better yet, Stracke led Opel to a modest operating profit during 2011, something not seen as likely before 2012, and he has a background filled with product experience. If anyone within the GM organization can pick the right products for the market, it’s likely to be Karl Stracke.

It’s good, then, that Stracke is a fan of both the Opel Manta and the Opel GT, classic lightweight and affordable sports cars from the 1960s and '70s. In fact, Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport quotes Stracke from Der Tagesspiegel as saying that he could envision a comeback for the Manta and GT, with new technology and a new design.

Why is that good news for us on this side of the pond? Because there’s a history of Opel products (such as the 1971-75 Manta) being distributed through Buick dealerships, and because several current Buick models (such as the Regal and the Verano) share platforms with Opel cars.

Whether such products are likely to come to market depends on many different factors, not the least of which is a global economy again approaching meltdown. Whether or not Stracke’s word carry more weight than just an off-hand comment depends, we suppose, on your view of chaos theory.

Image credit: Charles01, Creative Commons 2.0
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