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Mike Stevens | Sep, 12 2014 | 7 Comments

GM’s German subsidiary Opel has rolled out an early teaser of what could be Australia’s next Barina Spark hatch. But, in Germany, it will be known as ‘Karl’.

The tiny hatch will be the second new Opel to carry a human name, with the launch last year of the Adam honouring company founder Adam Opel.

If you were to guess that the Karl’s name might pay homage to a person of historical relevance to the Opel brand, you’d be right.

While the Karl will revive the Viva name in the UK’s Vauxhall range, Opel will instead honour its founder’s first son, Carl.

“Karl is a short, snappy and catchy name that represents Opel brand values: German, emotional and approachable,” Opel marketing boss Tina Müller said.

It is perhaps also the most viable name of Opel’s five sons, the other four being named Wilhelm, Heinrich, Friedrich, and Ludwig.

Above: the Karl's only slightly larger sibling (or father..?), the Adam.
Above: the Karl's only slightly larger sibling (or father..?), the Adam.

And in fact, while it was Adam Opel that launched the family business, it was his three oldest sons that in 1898 changed the company’s direction from bicycles to new-fangled automobiles.

Details for the new hatch are still to come, although Opel has so far confirmed one key figure: its length.

Measuring 3680mm long, the Karl is a mere 20mm shorter than the already diminutive Adam - but both are shorter than the 3740mm Agila hatch that the Karl will replace in Europe.

 

Karl To Replace Barina Spark?

Importantly, the Karl is also 20mm longer than Holden’s Barina Spark, a model that will be due for replacement in the next two years.

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Opel’s new city hatch will be launched as a competitor to models like the Mitsubishi Mirage and the Suzuki Alto (soon to be replaced by the Celerio), and that’s precisely where the Barina Spark plays in Australia.

It remains to be seen if the Karl will replace the Spark in Australia, although a return of the ‘Holden Viva’ badge - last seen here on a small hatch in 2009 - could be on the cards.

Whatever form it takes, Holden will be keen for a change at the city-car end, with Spark sales this year so far totalling 960.

By comparison, Mitsubishi has sold a huge 5191 Mirage hatches to lead the sub-light segment this year, with the once overpriced Fiat 500 a distant second with 2047 sales.

MORE News & Reviews: Barina Spark | Sub-Light 'City Car' Hatches

 
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