Volt Birth Watch 86: Multiple Points of Entry

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
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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.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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4 of 9 comments
  • Hal Hal on Sep 13, 2008

    If the volt arrives on time and is actually decent(unlikely I know) a premium price doesn't seem totally ridiculous no matter what the badge on the hood. People are paying a Prius premium at the moment. Europeans can distingush between American and Korean Chevys, its not hard. "drunken slavs" just seems lazy, is that prejudice Mr Niedermeyer's?

  • Johnster Johnster on Sep 13, 2008

    Even if the Volt somehow manages to be a decent car, you have the problem of what is, too often. an underwhelming dealer experience.

  • Edward Niedermeyer Edward Niedermeyer on Sep 14, 2008

    To clarify, I was trying to characterize my impression of typical European stereotypes. I lived in Austria for a year, so I tend to think of Europeans as being relatively more xenophobic than Americans. Maybe because the Slavs I would go drinking with told me about how anti-foreigner Austrians could be. On the other hand, I am an American who rarely thinks "American Classic" when I think of Chevy, so I guess the rhetorical device is flawed on a couple of levels. I stand by the point that a Chevy-branded E-Flex doesn't make much sense in Europe. Perhaps some of our European readers could weigh in on how Chevy is perceived there.

  • Charly Charly on Sep 15, 2008

    Chevrolet = new name of Daewoo, Korean and i didn't realized that they had an Eastern European plant. American cars = Big but with a small, plastic interior and using prehistoric technology. Fuel use is 1 l/km and they are mostly driven by people who got their money easy like pimps. They are also badly styled. ps. Are you sure about Chevrolet making cars in Europe