GM is pushing its Chevrolet brand as a ”world brand,” reports the Freep. First battlefields for global bowtiefication: Europe and Korea. In Korea, the matter is easy: Last month, they took off the Daewoo badge and put a bowtie on instead. As predicted by TTAC nearly a year ago. There is not much that can go wrong in Korea: Hyundai dominates the market, Dawoo’s and now Chevrolet’s market share treads water in the single digits.
In Europe, any substantial market penetration by Chevrolet is “still a long-term goal,” concedes the Freep. And then, the Detroit paper proceeds to publish completely bogus numbers: “Chevrolet sold only 477,000 vehicles in Europe last year, compared with Opel and Vauxhall’s combined 1.2 million,” purports the Freep.
No, they did not. According to official ACEA numbers, Opel’s and Vauxhall’s combined sales in Europe (EU 27 plus EFTA) were 1,006,832 – a number at least in the general neighborhood of 1.2 million. Chevrolet’s sales on the other hand were only 178,730 – a little bit more than a third of what was allegedly sold in Europe. The Freep most likely fell victim to numbers supplied by GM. American companies sometimes have a strange concept of “Europe.”
Trying to introduce Chevrolet to Western Europe would be an exercise in futility. Even Opel/Vauxhall has a hard time there, hanging on to a market share of 7.4 percent – according to ACEA. The bowtie brand has a market share of 1.2 percent – in the same league a BMW’s Mini.
Wayne Brannon, president of Chevrolet Europe told the Freep that Chevrolet wants to exploit its “American” appeal in Europe. Well, good luck with that. Ford wisely stays away from any automotive flag waving. Since Ford is better established in Europe, it seems more European to buyers, Brannon said, leaving the “American” branding open to Chevy. It’s a trap, Mr. Brannon.
At the same time, GM’s European incarnation in Europe, Opel, wants to enter territory where GM is strong: China. “GM China is considering reintroducing its Opel brand to the Chinese market, with Opel executives supplying GM with documents detailing Chinese growth plans,” reports Gasgoo, citing a report in Beijing Times. According to the story, “imported Opel cars would rely on their distinct European characteristics.” Good luck with that also. Many of the Made in China Buicks and Chevys are engineered by Opel. In any case, Opel’s plans for China don’t sound overly ambitious. Says Gasgoo:
“Opel currently has one dealership open in Beijing, selling the Antara SUV, Astra compact and Zafira minivan. The company currently has no plans to expand its dealer network.”