Sure, GM Europe Is Gone, but the Automaker Hasn't Entirely Pulled up Stakes

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
sure gm europe is gone but the automaker hasnt entirely pulled up stakes

General Motors vacated the continent in fine style last year, flushing the Vauxhall and Opel brand to Groupe PSA in a deal worth about 2.2 billion Euro. However, it turns out Ren Cen remains as a lingering presence in moving metal across the pond.

All this was spurred by a tweet by David Shepardson of Reuters revealing The General sold about 3,000 vehicles in the first nine months of 2018, compared to 684,000 during the same period one year ago. This makes sense, given the sloughing of Vauxhall/Opel.

Since the word “Europe” shows up exactly zero times in GM’s Q3 earnings report, it left your author wondering: what models comprised those sales? Not the ones I thought, as it turns out.

GM maintains a network of Cadillac dealers in Europe and, as it happens, they sell more machines than just those inviting us to Dare Greatly. Two of them, apparently: the Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette.

Post-Opel sale — In the first nine months of 2018, @GM sold 3,000 vehicles in Europe down from 684,000 in same period in 2017

— David Shepardson (@davidshepardson) October 31, 2018

Some digging showed that Cadillac topped out in the 2007 calendar year in terms of European volume, moving approximately 3,000 units by itself during those 12 months. Last year, they rang up 916 sales. Currently shown on the European build and price tool are the trio of Escalade, CTS-V, and CT6.

Here’s where GM nameplates stand through to the end of August in Europe, with numbers hewn from CarSalesBase.com:

Those Corvette sales are extrapolated, as specific numbers were not readily available for that nameplate. However, knowing the monthly totals, we subtracted Cadillac and Camaro (and the small Daewoo volume) to arrive at the number you see in the chart. Aren’t we bloody clever. Given the pricing delta between Camaro and Corvette, plus seasonal demand, the figures shown are reasonable.

Speaking of pricing, a quick peek at the pricing tool on Cadillac’s site revealed what our neighbors are paying compared to the Monroney here at home. For example, an Escalade ESV Platinum 4×4 with a few extras listed as standard in Europe carries a sticker of $101,190 in America. The same truck lists for £99,440 in the UK, or $128,542 at today’s exchange rate.

Swinging the needle are France’s Cadillac dealers, who charge €124,070 for the same machine, a sum equal to $141,421 of today’s American dollars. The fact that comparable vehicles cost more in Europe is not a surprise to any gearhead, but it is always interesting to see how the other half lives.

The numbers shown above include sales in the countries of *draws breath* Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland *exhales*.

If anyone can read that list like the guys who used to blurt out the types of mail-order diplomas they used to advertise on TV, give yourself a round of applause.

[Image: General Motors]

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  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Nov 02, 2018

    Those are exactly the models I would think could sell there, why bother with any of the other ones?

  • Beken Beken on Nov 02, 2018

    I saw a Corvette near Buckingham Palace while in London last month. I think that was the only American car I saw in my 10 days there.

  • Jim Bonham Thanks.
  • Luke42 I just bought a 3-row Tesla Model Y.If Toyota made a similar vehicle, I would have bought that instead. I'm former Prius owner, and would have bought a Prius-like EV if it were available.Toyota hasn't tried to compete with the Model Y. GM made the Bolt EUV, and Ford made the Mach-E. Tesla beat them all fair and square, but Toyota didn't even try.[Shrug]
  • RHD Toyota is trying to hedge their bets, and have something for everyone. They also may be farther behind in developing electric vehicles than they care to admit. Japanese corporations sometimes come up with cutting-edge products, such as the Sony Walkman. Large corporations (and not just Japanese corporations) tend to be like GM, though - too many voices just don't get heard, to the long-term detriment of the entity.
  • Randy in rocklin The Japanese can be so smart and yet so dumb. I'm America-Japanese and they really can be dumb sometimes like their masking paranoia.
  • Bunkie The Flying Flea has a fascinating story and served, inadvertently, to broaden the understanding of aircraft design. The crash described in the article is only part of the tale.
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