General Motors had the chance to unload Opel eight years ago but balked. It has been paying for that hesitation ever since.
Today's GM can act more decisively because its finances are not only more stable, but also more transparent. Thanks to an accounting system overhaul that Dan Ammann spearheaded as CFO, GM has much clearer intelligence on the performance of its various markets, subsidiaries and product lines.
So GM has been able to play automotive Moneyball -- applying data analytics, rather than emotions or instinct, to improve its decision-making and the bottom line.
Numbers aren't perfect. GM may yet have regrets.
But just as the Boston Red Sox and others embraced the data-driven Oakland A's playbook to deal with their bloated cost structure and underperforming assets, GM's competitors might want to dive into their own financials to see what Opels, or opportunities, might be hiding within them.