Camaro chief engineer reassigned to work on electric cars

Al Oppenheiser

The man behind the modern Chevrolet Camaro has a new job at General Motors.

Al Oppenheiser, lead Camaro engineer for the fifth- and sixth-generation cars, will now lead GM’s newly created electric-vehicle group, Car and Driver reported Friday. GM spokesman Michael Albano told the publication that the automaker wants to move some of its best talent to electric cars as it focuses on zero-emission vehicles.

“We have launched the final variant of this generation of Camaro, so the time is right” for Oppenheiser to shift his focus to electric cars, Albano told the magazine. (The announcement seems to preclude a Z/28 version of the sixth-generation Camaro, too.)

2019 Chevrolet Camaro

In his new role, Oppenheiser will work on a variety of new electric vehicles, not on a specific model. The automaker didn’t rule out the possibility of an electrified performance vehicle as part of the former Camaro chief’s oversight. The automaker recognized his past achievements on the Camaro and his potential talent for EVs.

Despite the Camaro’s performance successes, Oppenheiser admitted that the Mustang has been eating the Camaro’s lunch in a September interview. He said greater focus on entry-level models is meant to help recoup some of the nameplate’s losses, including a new Camaro Turbo 1LE.

2019 Chevrolet Camaro

Succeeding Oppenheiser’s tenure will be Mark Dickens, current executive director of Performance Variants, Parts, Accessories, and Motorsports Engineering. It’s unclear how far along work might be on a seventh-generation Camaro, but the next iteration of the pony car should have Dickens’ fingerprints all over it.

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