There were no irate Opel workers, no crowded protests, no whistles – only applause. It has been ages since any top manager from Detroit has been made to feel as welcome in Bochum as Mary Barra.
But this time round she doesn’t have to face a disgruntled workforce, just a small number of key representatives from the automobile industry. Professor Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, an expert on cars from the University of Duisburg-Essen, invited Ms. Barra to the annual CAR symposium, where she kept her gaze fixed on a future that includes smart cars, car sharing – and a new electric automobile.
“In the next five years, the industry will see more changes than in the last 50 years,” said Ms. Barra, adding that Opel would play a key role in the sector’s future.
Speaking to the Bochum audience, the GM boss unveiled a picture of the new electric car to be made in Rüsselsheim, Opel’s headquarters near Frankfurt: the Ampera-E. Ms. Barra promised it will be a car that change the rules of the game in the automobile industry. In 2017, the model, which is based on the Chevrolet Bolt, will be offered in Germany.