After talk of increasing the seperation between Chevrolet and Opel, GM has announced that it will axe the Chevrolet brand in Europe, despite previously aiming to make Chevrolet its low-cost brand, while signing a nine-year, $584 million deal to have the brand sponsor Manchester United football club.
Poor sales of Chevrolet were blamed as the major culprit, with volumes for the brand were estimated to be about 180,000 units, with the bulk of the models being rebadged Daewoos. Axing the brand will reportedly cost GM $1 billion. GM hasn’t said how it will handle the brand’s 1,900 strong dealer network, but Chevrolet will apparently remain in Russia, where its cars are somewhat more popular.
Not long ago, GM was busy touting Chevrolet as a “world brand”, one that could compete in Europe, despite unfavorable market conditions and an internal rivalry with Opel, which occupies roughly the same market space. There was even talk of an end to South Korea imports and production on the continent, but that dream is now over.
While certain models like the Corvette and Camaro will stay on, Chevrolet’s lack of success in Europe, combined with its attempt to move upmarket with products like the Cruze wagon, but it on a collision course with Opel, which is also struggling in a cutthroat, declining European car market.