GM Europe Goes Poof

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

We and most of the European press had reported that GM Europe would give up their strange headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, and move the whole shebang to Rüsselsheim, Germany, where Opel resides. Not quite, said an Opel spokesperson to Germany’s Autohaus. From Rüsselheim “all functions of Opel and Vauxhall will be directed,” said Andfreas Kroemer of Opel. In Zurich remains the headquarters of Chevrolet Europe.

And what about GM Europe?

“There will be no more GM Europe,” said Opel labor leader Klaus Franz. “Opel and Chevrolet will be separated. We won’t need a superstructure.”

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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7 of 11 comments
  • Tced2 Tced2 on Dec 14, 2009

    Zurich sounds more upscale than Russelsheim. Wait til Big Ed sees the rent on the Zurich digs.

  • Bunter1 Bunter1 on Dec 14, 2009

    My gut reaction is that GM is setting itself up to self compete/cannibalize it's own sales...again. Chevy vs. Opel who wins? Ford, PSA, Renault, VW... Bunter

    • Steven02 Steven02 on Dec 14, 2009

      While the price point isn't too different, Chevy is definitely a value brand and Opel is not. Besides, Chevy's market is mainly eastern Europe and Opel's is western Europe. I don't think that this is that big a deal. Besides, there are many dealers in western Europe that have both Chevy and Opel.

  • Rnc Rnc on Dec 14, 2009

    Would agree with Steven on being a good thing and a politically driven move at that. One of the chief complaints from Germany was that GM had starved Opel to death (possibly correct) and therefore would only give funding if seperated. By dissolving GME and giving Opel its corporate independence GM is one step closer to alleving those concerns (state, management and union) and securing funding. I think that chevy in europe is meant to compete with the likes of dacia, skoda, etc. while leaving Opel to deal with western europe (which again is probably smart).

    • Bunter1 Bunter1 on Dec 14, 2009

      hi rnc, I'm sure the intent will be to keep chevy and Opel in different markets. In pratice the separate groups will do whatever they think they need to do to survive/thrive. When a segment of the market is hot and it's where they are not will they stay out? This is not a matter, to my eyes, of the gap between Toy/Lexus or Chevy/Caddy. There is going to be a lot of natural overlap in price point/market. Marketers like to think people go out looking for one thing and buy that type of thing. Shoot, I work with a guy who went out looking for a sport coupe and came home with a full size PU and another couple that was thinking PU and bought a Sebring convertible. Fearless prediction: THese two will cut into each others market at the first opportunity and the marketing wonks will insist they are clearly separated. My take anyway. BUnter

  • Steven02 Steven02 on Dec 14, 2009

    @ Bunter1 I think that your examples of people looking for something and coming back for something else entirely is interesting, but also making this case. In western Europe, there are many Opel dealers that also carry Chevy. What they have found, is that when Chevy came in, it also boosted Opel sales. It could very well be that Chevy buyers could spend a bit more and walk away with an Opel.

    • Bunter1 Bunter1 on Dec 15, 2009

      But not a chevy. My point is that they will compete and cannibalize, IMO, much like Chevy and Pontiac in the US. Cheerio, BUnter