By on November 2, 2018

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.

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

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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16 Comments on “Sure, GM Europe Is Gone, but the Automaker Hasn’t Entirely Pulled up Stakes...”

  • avatar

    Price makes sense, since in europe tax is included in price (usually around 20%), which whittles the premium in the UK down to $7000 over the US price.

    • 0 avatar

      In some countries they have extra tariff ( but not called tariff) based on engine size. Any V8 ( usually American) would get penalized. But it isn’t a tariff, it is a “fee”. Also not duty.

      • 0 avatar

        European fuel is generally a lot more expensive than the US, big V8s are a rare luxury. Most folks drive small petrols, or until dieselgate diesel was hugely popular.

      • 0 avatar
        Ce he sin

        You’re kind of half right in that the registration taxes used in some places aren’t some kind of tariff aimed at vehicles from abroad, but they’re generally CO2 based rather than specifically aimed at larger engines. If you buy a large engined Merc in a country like Denmark with notoriously high registration tax you’ll pay a fortune even though the car’s made in the EU whereas if you buy a Tesla (not made in the EU yet) you’ll pay a lot less.

  • avatar

    I was shocked the first time I went to Europe as a kid what Europeans paid for the very popular Mustang, about 3 times what Americans paid

    I’d be curious as to who Cadillac sells the few cars they do in Europe. I can just picture an Escalade lumbering down the narrow streets of Europe with two wheels up on the sidewalk

    • 0 avatar

      You’d be surprised, Europeans have taken to SUVs almost as much as Americans. Narrow parking spaces (‘compact’ spaces as standard!) are filled by behemoth walls of metal.

    • 0 avatar

      The Escalade’s about the same width as a regular, boring Ford Transit van, so it’s not really an unusually huge vehicle.

      Who buys them then? Rich people in low-density residential areas, i.e. McMansion suburbia. It’s not just medieval towns here.

    • 0 avatar

      In Germany you could buy Escalade Platinium new for about €80k, not sure what these French dealers are thinking, noone pays asking price in Europe either.

      As for buyers: wannabe cowboys/truckers, Americana enthusiasts in boots and Stetsons, can mean businessmen or celebrities….

  • avatar

    Man too bad GM didn’t build the Camaro as an international car with left or right hand drive capability.

  • avatar

    I would imagine that Caddy sales are for LHD markets, I don’t think they make RHD models for UK/Ireland/Malta/Cyprus.

    I’m very interested as to what the Daewoo sales were. Chevrolet as a mainstream Daewoo-rebadging exercise left Europe a few years ago. I can’t imagine they had Cruzes or Sparks sitting on a lot somewhere all that time.

    • 0 avatar

      The Mustang is the #1 selling sports coupe GT car sold in Europe and the UK. Ubiquitous, no, but would not say rare either.

      • 0 avatar

        Are you sure? There’s lot of 3-series, A5 and C-class coupes in Europe, maybe that #1 selling sports coupe thing is some more specific category?
        And is there anything at all on offer otside these 4…

  • avatar

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

  • avatar

    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.

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