The Dubious File: Opel Wants New Wartburgs!

May 12, 2009

If you think the great juggling act between Chrysler, Fiat, and General Motors has gotten out of hand, wait until you read the latest from Opel, GM's European arm. One report from Ward's Auto suggests that Opel is looking for a bargain-basement brand to take on the likes of the Dacia Logan and maybe even the Tata Nano.

That brand? The Wartburg.

You might recall the Wartburg from the old days of the Stasi and other East German delights. The car company, which was centered in Eisenach--current home of much Opel production--built three-cylinder, two-stroke cars with a grand total of seven moving engine parts in the 1950s and 1960s. The brand eventually shut down in 1991, two years after Germany's reunification.

Now, Opel's spokesvolks are suggesting Wartburg will see a revival. The new car could be a sub-$10,000 entry in the crowded European market that's bracing itself for an onslaught of ultra-cheap cars from all over the world, the Balkans to China to India.

All options are on the table as GM and Fiat play checkers with the global auto industry--but does the world really need another car brand? More troubling: why do Germans have a such a knack for horrible car names (Wartburg, Touareg, Routan)?

[WardsAuto; photo from Wikipedia]

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