By on July 23, 2014


General Motors took the step of killing off Chevrolet in Europe earlier this year, and has long attempted to position Opel and Vauxhall as mainstream but slightly more premium offerings (analogous to how Volkswagen was once marketed in the United States). And that makes news of a new line of budget cars all the more confusing.

Just-Auto reports that Opel and Vauxhall will launch two new budget models to attract customers who may have previously opted for Chevrolet cars. First is the new Viva, based on the next-generation Chevrolet Spark. A small SUV, set to rival the Dacia Duster, is also being considered.

Rather than aiming for a brand that specifically targets no-frills motoring, it appears that GM is aiming to emulate Skoda, which at least has some measure of style and chic appeal, even as it positions itself as a value brand. The new Viva looks to be a pretty stylish car, but the brand positioning appears to be contradictory. How can Opel and Vauxhall aspire to sell pseudo-premium sedans like the Insignia while also pushing a new line of budget cars? Then again, nobody can ever accuse GM of having a consistent or coherent brand strategy in Europe.

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21 Comments on “Been Dacia’d And Confused For So Long It’s Not True…...”

  • avatar

    “General Motors took the step of killing off Chevrolet in Europe earlier this year, and has long attempted to position Opel and Vauxhall as mainstream but slightly more premium offerings.”

    Okay, so they’re switching back, now? I thought we were killing off Opel in favour of Chevrolet?

    Nice to see that GM can stick to a strategy. It does wonders for the image of the brands in question.

  • avatar

    If they were honest with themselves, they would acknowledge that their current ‘pseudo-premium’ models are directly competing with Skoda. No need to step down…

  • avatar

    Well, they did it for years and years. They always were a full line from the most basic A segment hatch to full size. Ford has always done it in Europe, too. The mistake seems to me to have tried to launch Chevrolet.

    Renault had Dacia laying around and decided to take a risk and create a line of cars that has been very successful almost everywhere. VW uses Skoda as a depository for old platforms and makes extensive use of parts bins and other ticks with a modicum of style. The new Dacias are also betting on more style BTW and not relying just on cost.

    • 0 avatar
      Vojta Dobeš

      Škoda isn’t a depository for old platforms. The Octavia III is based on the same MQB architecture as the Golf VII and current A3, for example. You can have it with lane assist, adaptive cruise, automatic parking and other fancy gizmos – Škodas get the new tech slightly after VWs, which get it slightly after Audi.

    • 0 avatar

      They could have let Daewoo few years longer – and be their budget brand in Europe, but they rebranded it, because US managers probably wanted Chevy to be global brand, even Chevrolet could have been succesfull with different approach.

      Dacia is great succes, in private segment they are very popular in many european countries dacia is pretty high in ranking in private sales, people go for cheap Dacia – and it makes proffit for Renault.

      howewer you are wrong about Skoda , just like that other guy explained to you, SKoda in Europe is great brand, basically viewed as czech not expensive brand with german technology- everyone knows they are VW group, having VW great technologies – not old one, basically they were times that even VW managers were worried that Skoda is to succesfull in Europe and had done couple of things to ,,stop,, them like when Superb was better than Passat, – being basically the same car but Superb being cheaper.

      They are many times comparing DAcia and SKoda as REnault´s and VW´s budget brands but difference ishuge, DAcia is really cheap brand and their competition is used car market – how their boss said himself, while SKoda is basically volume mainstream brand this days, but in minds of people considered as cheaper brand than classic mainstream VW, Opel, Ford, french brands and so on

  • avatar

    I just looked at the German Chevy and Opel sites, and yes, the Chevrolet line is redundant, more so than GM in North America. They basically both have full lines of products and the Opels are a little better. Also the new Viva, would directly replace the Opel Agila. I could see if GM still wants to keep the Camaro and Corvette in Europe as Chevrolets though, because that’s brand identity that people could believe, even Suburban and Silverado in limited numbers.

  • avatar

    Did the brand ever really have a following in Europe?

    OT: Why is the Vauxhall Viva so much better looking than the Chevy Spark?

  • avatar

    Do Europeans really see cars like the Spark or Sonic as American, rather than Korean?

    • 0 avatar
      Vojta Dobeš

      No. GM did the horrible mistake of renaming the Daewoo to Chevrolet too soon. They just slapped the badge to old junk like Aveo and first generation Spark, and thought people are stupid enough not to see it.

      They weren’t. The Chevrolet=rebadged Daewoo thing got so ingrained in their minds, they probably consider even the new Malibu to be a Korean car (which may be why absolutely no one is buying them).

      The only Chevrolet that has any chance of getting recognized as American is the Camaro. But I’m sure there are people who even think the Camaro is Korean.

  • avatar
    Vojta Dobeš

    As someone said above, if Opel introduces budget models, it won’t emulate Skoda, because it is on par (at best) with Skodas as it is.

    The idea of Skoda being the “value brand” works only inside of the Volkswagen empire, where the brands above are sub-premium Volkswagen and premium Audi. Volkswagen now stands where Volvo or Alfa-Romeo were 20 or 30 years ago. More prestigious and luxurious than the mainstream brands, but not quite premium.

    Skoda is a direct competitor to Opel, Renault or Peugeot – many times with better, more modern technology (it basically uses up-to-date VW stuff).

    What Opel may be doing with new budget models may be more like what Citroën and Peugeot are doing with their “two-tier” (three tier in case of Citroën) approach of offering base line (208, 308, 508 for Peugeot, C1 to C5 for Citroën), together with budget cars (C-Elysée, 301) and in case of Citroën, also semi-premium cars (DS line).

    • 0 avatar

      Agree with you, Skoda is today mainstream – or volume brand in more segments, just people still take it as ,,value,, or ,cheaper,, brand because it´s czech brand – especially in WEstern Europe they think about it this way, but there is no difference between Skoda and french brands or Ford and so on, also don´t like DAcia and Skoda in the same sentence and segment, while Dacia is clearly lower than Skoda

  • avatar

    I think Vauxhall and Opel are muddled enough as far as what they’ve sold in the past that it won’t be much of an issue to just add these to the lower rung.

  • avatar

    Great news!

    Anyways, GM never has figured out the hold “Brand Image” thing too well…

  • avatar

    GM Europe are joke in last decade in term of brands and their orientation, 1st they introduce in Europe Chevrolet after they bought Daewoo and rebranded cheap Daewoos to Chevrolets-it could have been succesfull i think if they stick to it few years – crisis came in and people started to prefere ,,budget,, brands and smaller ,,cheaper,, cars, but no – GM refused to have Chevrolet as 2nd small brand they confused people with introducing more models and wanted to Chevrolet to be big in Europe – which was never going to happen and tried to move Opel upmarket – which was again just logical in heads of US managers, because they had no idea that Opel was always volume brand for all people with many models, so they failed to move it upmarket, their Chevrolet mix of koreas imports and some US mix failed, now again they want Opel have budget cars…. GM US managers trying to manage Opel in Europe it´s one of worst things in automotive world in term of how to screw things… no wonder GM europe is not proffitbale, they can´t export Opels outside of Europe

    Chevrolet should have stayed in Europe as GM´s budget option and Opel as main volume brand – german brand – direct competition to VW as mainstraem german brand – except UK – but that´s specific market Vauhhall is doing fine there. Chevrolet should have been producet in Europe – in Poland – which has lower wages than DE – so polish GM plant producing let´s say 2-3 popular small Chevy car´s woul dbe profitable i mean Polish plant would be profitable- Chevrolet could have been as succesfull as Kia and Hyundai – Korean brand, build something in Poland, import from Korea – who cares it´s US brand only GM managers, it could have been succesfull as korean brand in Europe – which people viewed as korean anyway

  • avatar

    Positioning Chevrolet below Opel never made any sense, the other way around might have worked better. The brand was associated with “American” cars, which (In Europe) translates to big, gas guzzling land yachts that are anything but “budget”. Daewoo actually was getting a bit of a reputation for cheap but decent transportation.

    After killing off the (rwd) Senator and Omega, Opel also lacks a higher end car that can compete with the A6/5-series on price. It’s a thoroughly generic brand these days.

  • avatar

    “Just-Auto reports that Opel and Vauxhall will launch two new budget models to attract customers who may have previously opted for Chevrolet cars.”

    I’ve lived in two European countries (Germany and France) over the last few years and I could probably count the number of Chevrolets I’ve seen here in that time on my fingers. Even in countries like Switzerland and the Netherlands, whose lack of a national auto industry makes them more accepting of non-euro offerings, Chevy’s are few and far between. I understand the rational of offering new super-minis, but saying its to target would-be chevy buyers in Europe makes no sense to me.

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