Carmaker Opel

GM Boss Sees Bright Future For Electric Opel

GM CEO Mary Barra is winning over Opel's workers.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    While Opel bosses enthuse about the once ailing carmakers’ comeback, its former plant in Bochum, western Germany, is a wasteland and ex-workers struggle to find jobs.

  • Facts


    • This year Opel plans to make a profit again, for the first time in years, helped by its bestsellers the Mokka and the Astra.
    • Opel, a subsidiary of General Motors, recently unveiled its new electric car, with a range of 300 kilometers (186 miles) and a price suited to the mass market.
    • The Opel Bochum complex was once one of the carmakers’ biggest, employing more than 3,000 people. Only one in ten of the former Bochum plant workers has found a new job.
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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.

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