By on December 20, 2011

Allegedly, GM wants to replace Opel and Vauxhall with Chevrolet in Europe, and turn the bow tie into a true global brand. Apparently, it wants to do this with a severely pruned-down dealer network. Chevy dealers in Germany watch every courier coming through the door with trepidation: Every fifth Chevy dealer in Germany will be handed a letter that tells him that his contract is being terminated, says Germany’s kfz-Betrieb.

As reason, insufficient sales are given. Uwe Heyman, a lawyer who manages the council of Opel and Chevrolet dealers in Germany, thinks the reason is likewise insufficient:

“In the cancellation, Chevrolet states vaguely and without naming numbers that it is not satisfied with the performance of the dealer.“

The dealers had not received a prior warning. Several fired dealers have a market share that is well above average.

January through November, Chevrolet sold  27,095 units in Germany, for a market share of 0.9 percent. That is better than in the prior year. However, says the kfz-Btrieb, the numbers are fudged: Many cars were registered by the dealers themselves for a day, turning them into used cars which then are sold at huge discounts. In November, the market share dropped to 0.7 percent.

Worth watching: How many Opel dealers will get new Chevy contracts that are lost by funky former Dawoo-dealers. What is happening here could be a Chevy retrenchment, or, if larger dealer replace smaller ones, a full frontal attack.


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14 Comments on “Chevy Has Small Plans For Germany...”

  • avatar

    So facing a paper thin market share GM decides to reduce dealers for an even smaller footprint. And this as they wrestle the monster Opel. Given the recent turmoil in the European financial markets maybe GM should pull a Fiat and bow out of the market for a few years.

  • avatar

    Why does GM so not get it about selling US nameplates in Europe, and especially Germany. They think American cars suck. Period. They will not change their minds on that, no matter how many RenCen MBAs from Kettering have orgasms over the latest Powerpoint proposals. NOTHING has changed at GM. Except their source of funds.

    • 0 avatar

      Daewoo’s do suck. There aren’t too many American GM cars sold in Germany, maybe a few CTS, Camaro, Corvette’s. They are all too thirsty, crude, and gaudy to interest a conservative German public.

      I think the Volt/Ampera could do relatively well there, and for once, maybe the Germans wouldn’t think it sucked so bad. It’s also not thirsty, crude, or gaudy.

  • avatar

    The Chevrolet name has zero cachet in Europe, perhaps even less, since Daewoos are now sold under the name (Top Gear has its old Lacetti, now the Cruze in latest form).

    On the other hand, Opel is somehow supposed to be staffed with uber German engineers who come up with advanced solutions that underpin the whole GM organization, if you believe that particular marketing line from GME. Of course Holden thinks it does all the engineering on the bigger cars. Daewoo did come up with the Cruze, but who put the finishing details on the ones made at Lordstown? Who really knows — it hasn’t been clear to me for years where GM cars are really engineered. Online, I guess. They seem to keep it a secret when it comes to details, even on GM careers website.

    Meanwhile, the roof at Opel’s Bochum plant is leaking, since Opel doesn’t generate enough margin and makes losses which cannot be made up through volume. So no maintenance euros.

    The Saab fans think that every advance in GM’s cars, particularly Opel of course, were in fact engineered at Trollhattan by Swedish elves on the quiet while nobody was looking, that the Cadillac SRX was entirely developed by Saab, that xAWD was designed by Saab, rather than by Borg-Warner who own Haldex, and that implementing Scania AB’s truck modular engineering would have saved them anyway, forgetting that VW owns Scania (well 70%) and it’s their idea.

    Anyway, what with Girsky from GM HO running rampant in Germany, and the unions thinking that Opel should be allowed to export worldwide, since they disavow GM ownership in their hearts, I’d say the game is finally up.

    So a few crap Chevs, really Daewoos, being sold in Europe at some small profit is better than Opel losing 1.6 billion every year.

    Anyway, GM have a blueprint for selling Opel. First of all sell it to an enthusiast or asset stripper wannabe, but make sure GM IP is protected, so that the company cannot be sold on without GM’s permission. That way, you avoid redundancy claims, retirement packages, etc. etc, and let the poor fools who buy it go down the drain trying to sell it to the Chinese or Indians. A la Saab. Then Germany has to foot the social costs instead of GM. You can see it all coming.

    It may be cynical of me to think this way, but I wouldn’t mind having GM pay back Canadian and US investors. Not losing a couple billion in Europe each year will pep up the share price.

  • avatar

    If anything was learned from the SAAB story it was how GM plans to kill off their brands. Only next time there will be less hope of actually making the cars and more attention paid to the breakup value. They can’t repeat the SAAB scenario again.

    • 0 avatar

      Saab has been nothing but GM’s 20 year run of “Weekend at Bernie’s.” Saab was as good as dead when GM first starting investing in it. GM’s only “sin” was not being able to resurrect Lazarus. Enough with the “GM killed Saab” poppycock. Please.

  • avatar

    I’d be amazed if GM shut down all of Opel and Vauxhall in Europe. Why for example allow Vauxhall to go under when it’s plants ARE efficient in the uk and whilst the brand commands the biggest Market share of ANY Opel Vauxhall entity. And why allow all of GMs top engineers in Germany go? The problem is Opel Germany’s inefficient German plants as we all know.

    The simple solution is actually to reorganise Adam Opel. Why not for example transfer all existing IPR, engineering fcilities and Vauxhall Uk to Another GM entity and then let Adam Opel go bust?

  • avatar

    I think that if I was a new car dealer, and the only way I could sell the vehicles my manufacturer shipped me was to convert them into pretend used cars so they wouldn’t be too expensive, I’d think it was time to be looking for another franchise rather than bemoaning the fact that the present manufacturer might terminate me.

  • avatar

    I would research it further to see whether existing dealers that currently carry only Opel are being offered Chevrolet agencies. That would be a hint that the plan may be to either shrink or phase out Opel entirely.

  • avatar

    typical GM, close and cut, walk away from brand equity and heritage while trying to build something new and different without any idea of what to do. if I didn’t know these people first hand I would swear they are doing it on purpose as did their predecessor Red Ink Rick. really want to screw up your sales? send in Driving Miss Docherty.

  • avatar

    My magic 8-ball says that GM’s long-term goal is to become a Chinese carmaker, keeping only a few token plants in North America and Europe, and selling only Chevy, Buick, and Cadillac brands. Signs point to Yes.

  • avatar

    From a European perspective, that sounds like a good idea. Chevrolet is still associated with big gas slurping extravagant cars over here, yet cruze shows something seriously smart and well made. More and more Cruzes are on the European roads. Opel has a terrible reputation, however it seems the insignia is well made. I believe the global car plans are good for us in the long run. And oh yeah, I’m a Chevy fan trapped in Europe where econoboxes are considered the way to go and everything beyond 2 liters is considered anti social. I have to admit having an MB and a Volvo, though.

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