What's Wrong With This Picture: Global Brands, Global Values Edition

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

In America, certain European cars ostensibly set their drivers apart as willfully unique characters. Cars like the Volvo C30, or just about any Saab indicate that the driver’s desire to be seen as quirky iconoclasts outweighs any of the more rational metrics that might guide the car-buying process. And while in the US, compact size and European pedigree are the keys to stepping out of the automotive mainstream, making an automotive statement in Europe requires the opposite approach. Pickup trucks, muscle cars and American SUVs are the signifiers of choice for the Europeans who find themselves marching out of step with their efficient hatchback-driving fellow citizens. As a result, European advertisements for motorized guilty pleasures, like the one above, play on the perception that big V8s are downright antisocial. By refined European standards, no one should drive a brutish Camaro… but what’s more fun than blowing a supercharged raspberry at social niceties? And though the marketing for American muscle cars in Europe practically writes itself, global brands like Chevrolet don’t necessarily want the Ameri-barbarian associations… which might explain why Chevrolet has canceled plans to build a right hand drive Camaro.

Speaking to Motor Trend, GM’s Bob Lutz explains that swimming against the European mainstream can’t take priority for Chevrolet anymore.

No matter which car company you work for, there’s never enough engineering money, talent and capital to do everything you want to do. So when we looked at the hybrids that we have to do, and the plug-ins that we have to do, we just had to priority rank it and I couldn’t argue with the priorities.

In addition to engineering priorities and image issues, Lutz explains that the RHD markets also don’t have that many power-obsessed individualists. And sales estimates weren’t just low in the UK, but in Australia as well, where (RHD aside) the market taste resembles America’s more than anywhere else.

The UK was low, and…frankly I think Australia could have stepped up to the plate with some more. But when we finally looked at it there weren’t enough units to justify after all what is a fairly large investment. I am always personally sad when we create an exciting car and there’s demand for it in an interesting country like Australia, and we can’t afford it. It seems particularly ironic since all of the chassis development and the engineering was done there.

Meanwhile, will the parts of Europe that drive on the correct side of the road get Camaros as GM pushes its Chevrolet brand into greater importance there? Chevrolet.de offers no clues to the affirmative, listing Camaro as a “vehicle study.” And frankly, with Corvette and Cadillac also fighting (likely in vain) for Euro-acceptance, it makes far more sense for GM to limit V8s to their (theoretically) more profitable Caddys and ‘vettes. Besides, real European Amerophile cads buy their muscle cars from grey-market importers… because it’s just that little bit more delightfully antisocial.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Pacificpom2 Pacificpom2 on Mar 28, 2010

    Probaly goes with economies of scales as well. I don't know how many Commodores (G8's) were sold in the US but against the whole production run of possible 80,000 RHD cars 10,000 LHD probaly made sense to re-engineer, where as a total sales deal of 1000 rhd Camaro's against 80,000 Lhd Camaro's didn't make sense.

  • Geggamoya Geggamoya on Mar 28, 2010

    I would definately consider a Mustang for example, if it wasnt' so damn expensive. A new grey-import is around 80.000€ for crying out loud.. The price is high mainly because of taxes, but also because the glass and lights have to be changed for e-approved parts. As it is now, the 300C is the only "muscle car" available, and the only model still being imported is the 3-liter diesel, starting at 49.000€.

    • Uncle Mellow Uncle Mellow on Mar 29, 2010

      the latest 300C starts at around 25,000 Sterling in England , which is similar money to a 320d BMW.

  • Picard234 I can just smell the clove cigarettes and the "oregano" from the interior. Absolutely no dice at any price.
  • Dartdude The Europeans don't understand the American market. That is why they are small players here. Chrysler Group is going to die pretty soon under their control. Europeans have a sense of superiority over Americans that is why the Mercedes merger didn't work out and almost killed Chrysler. Bringing European managers aren't going to help. Just like F1 they want our money. We need Elon Musk to buy out Chrysler, Dodge and Ram from Stellantis.
  • Michael S6 I would take the Mustang for the soundtrack. However, practically a BMW M340ix or M240ix would be my choice.
  • Michael S6 Took my car for oil change on Friday and dealership was working on paper. Recently one of the major health care system in our area was hacked and they had to use paper backup for three weeks. What a nightmare.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic Once e-mail was adopted by my former employer, we were coached about malice software as early as the 90's. We called it "worms" back then.They were separating the computers that ran the power plants from the rest of the system in the early 00's. One plant supervisor loaded vacation pictures from a thumb drive on his work PC. His PC was immediately isolated and the supervisor in question was made an example of via a disciplinary notice. Word spread quickly!!Last I heard, they still had their own data center!! Cloud Computing, what's that?!?! 🚗🚗🚗