Karl-Friedrich Stracke, GM’s CEO, abruptly stepped down on Thursday, July 12th, a move which raised many questions regarding the troubled car maker.
In the last weeks GM’s management and labor unions had made a promising progress, after they agreed upon a mid-term business plan and to end production at a German factory in 2017. Analysts even began shifting their attention from Opel’s problems to Ford’s losses in Europe. But now, with Karl-Friedrich Stracke’s sudden resignation, the company is back on the hot spot.
“This will be the last such attempt under Akerson and since GM couldn’t sell Opel last time, they will just wind it down if they can’t fix it,” said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, a professor at the Centre Automotive Research (CAR) in Duisburg, Germany.
Although the company move may have pleased investors on Wall Street demanding quick results, many have criticized GM’s plan as characteristic of its history of abrupt u-turns that have damaged its credibility. In September 2009 GM agreed to offer control of Opel to a consortium led by automotive parts maker Magna, but changed its mind weeks later. Then, after months of requesting financial aid from four German states, it withdrew the application.
“After all the wrong decisions taken, I really am concerned whether it will still be around in 10 years time,” said Wolfgang Meinig, head of the FAW automotive research department at the University of Bamberg.