Currently reading: GM boss reveals why Chevrolet Europe was axed
Chevrolet's withdrawal from Europe was prompted by the need to expand elsewhere, and to avoid undermining Vauxhall-Opel sales, says global brand boss

Chevrolet Europe is being axed because parent company GM saw better opportunities to invest elsewhere, and because the company was undermining Vauxhall-Opel’s sales, according to Chevrolet’s global boss Alan Batey.

The decision to withdraw Chevrolet from Europe, announced at the end of last year, was made after the firm recorded around 200,000 sales in the region, taking a market share of less than one per cent. In contrast, Vauxhall-Opel took a market share of around six per cent.

“You have to put the decision in the context of Chevrolet and GM as a whole,” said Batey. “It is a massive company with pressures on it to invest in many different areas. Chevrolet sells five million cars globally, and we see significant opportunities to grow the brand rapidly and significantly in Asia, for instance. So it came down to a question of deciding where to place the investment we had.”

Batey also conceded that GM failed to sufficiently differentiate Chevrolet and Vauxhall-Opel products. “The problem was that the products were based on the same platforms and were too similar,” he said. “They cost the same to produce, so it wasn’t possible to present one as a budget version of the other, and the brands weren’t sufficiently opposed for one to be seen as more upmarket.”

Vauxhall-Opel boss Karl-Thomas Neumann added: “We decided Vauxhall-Opel was the stronger brand, and that for it to thrive we needed to avoid disturbing that,” he said. “It was unfortunate that we had the approach of sharing dealers – it was confusing for customers to see similar products without differentiation in the same place. There was an issue of differentiation.”

New GM boss Mary Barra stressed her support for Vauxhall-Opel: "Opel and Vauxhall are very important to us. We have made the decision to invest in them and grow them. They are managed well and we consider them as one brand - Vauxhall is a key part of the story. We believe the decisions we made at the end of last year [Chevrolet's axing] will help both."

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C2_Matt 16 January 2014


Do Vauxhall actually sell cars?

I'm sure once the BSM and Motability cars are taken from that 6% market share there wouldn't be much left. Remember when the Adam was the best thing that ever appeared? I'm yet to see someone from their 18 - 35 target market driving one, a few older drivers tho.

Halfabee 16 January 2014


Another piece of misguided management from GM. What I think they're saying is that Opel/Vauxhall isn't strong enough to stand up even to competition from they take that away. Doesn't alter the fact that neither Opel/Vauxhall nor Vhevy can't stand up to external competitors in Europe.

And what about the previous GM strategy, to create Chevy and Cadillac as their 2 global brands? Neither appear in Europe....end of global strategy......

TurtleGerald 16 January 2014

Surely the brands could have been better differentiated?

Given that Chevrolet and Buick can happily coexist in the US, why not push Vauxhall a little more upmarket? It's going that way anyway - who would've ever thought we'd see nappa leather trim in an Insignia?

Why not make, for example, an Astra available with equipment, trim and options equivalent to a Buick Verano (including a decent petrol/auto option for heaven's sake!) and pitch it as an alternative to the 1-series, A-class, Golf brigade?

The sad fact is, American cars just aren't popular in Europe. It's a great shame because for me they have a certain something about them that no European car has. They might have cheaper plastics inside (but they are catching up fast) and a softer ride (which I would much prefer given the shocking quality of our roads), but they just do it for me somehow! They might be virtually the same car, but give me the beige leather, fake wood, Bose sound system, comfortable ride and "quiet tuning" of a Verano over an Astra any day of the week!