Volt Birth Watch 86: Multiple Points of Entry
Remember when we told you that GM’s E-Flex EREVs (the Volt, by any other name) would be sold strictly as Opels and Vauxhalls in Europe? The decision made sense; Euro-market Chevrolets are little more than rebadged Daewoos, and the E-Flex price point (which should be truly colon-clenching when it gets to Europe) just won’t play in that sales environment. Well, GM can make all the sense in the world when it wants, but that doesn’t mean it won’t go back on its own arguments a few short weeks later. Reuters reports that GM Europe honcho Carl-Peter Forster told a Berlin auto conference “We are investing an enormous amount. We will launch these cars in Europe, both as Opel and as Chevrolet, in around three years.” And there you have it. While GM fights hard to bring Opel upmarket, trumpeting the “democratization of technology” that the revitalized brand will bring about, it’s undercutting that vision by also offering a Chevy Volt in Europe. Europeans do not typically think “American Classic” when they think of Chevrolet. They think “horrendous Korean shitbox slapped together by drunken Slavs.” Why would GM Europe expect anyone to shell out a huge amount of money for that? And while we’re on the subject, why wasn’t the Volt initially conceived as, say, a Cadillac? Keep in mind we’re talking about a car that is likely to cost $40k or more. In America that’s a stretch for a Chevy, in Europe it’s suicide.
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