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Chevrolet Won’t Be Leaving Europe Entirely

Corvette and possibly other models to remain in market.

by on Dec.06, 2013

Still Europe-bound, the C7 Corvette.

Chevrolet plans to maintain at least a small presence in Europe, despite this week’s announcement that it will pull out in the wake of a poor reception for a brand traditionally seen as classically American.

The Corvette, in particular, will continue to be sold on the Continent even after the Chevrolet distribution network is shut down, was advised.

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“Vette and some other iconic Chevrolets (to be named later) will still be sold thru Opel or Cadillac dealers. They will be marketed as Chevrolets,” explained Mike Albano, Chevy’s chief spokesman in the U.S., explained by e-mail.


GM Pulling Chevrolet from Europe in 2016

Plan gives Opel one less competitor in market.

by on Dec.05, 2013

GM is pulling its Chevy brand from Europe, hoping to bolster sales for its Opel and Vauxhall brands.

General Motors is yanking its Chevrolet brand from most of Europe by 2016 hoping it will bolster sales for its Opel and Vauxhall brands. Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States will still sell Chevy vehicles.

Chevy’s departure from Europe came in a surprise overnight news release. The brand has long been the dominant one for GM in its home North American market, but has had a less significant role abroad.

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In recent years, as German-based Opel had begun to fade, GM began looking to Chevrolet as a potential alternative. In fact, some analysts suggested GM might eventually abandon Opel entirely.  (more…)

Docherty Latest GM Exec to Exit From Europe

Europe becoming a sinkhole for senior GM managers.

by on Jun.24, 2013

European chief Susan Docherty shown during a recent product preview.

Europe has become a sinkhole for once-promising senior General Motors executives – claiming a number of top managers in recent months including one-time Chevy Volt powertrain overseer Mickey Bly, and now Susan Docherty, who had been spearheading efforts to turn Chevrolet and Cadillac into major players in the European market.

Docherty, president and managing director of Chevrolet and Cadillac Europe, has announced she plans to leave General Motors “to spend more time with her family.”

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The parting is an amiable one, according to GM insiders, who noted that the Canadian-born Docherty will remain at her post until September 30. If Docherty was leaving for another job, her departure from GM would have been immediate, they noted. A successor for Docherty will be named at a later date, GM officials said.


European Automakers Compound Their Own Crisis

“Unsustainable” practices conceal depth of crisis, worsen losses.

by on Oct.02, 2012

VW's Winterkorn and Fiat's Marchionne emerge from a meeting aimed at resolving their mounting differences.

Few doubt the European automotive industry’s downward spiral will get worse before things start to improve. But there are growing concerns that the industry is compounding its own problem with “unsustainable” practices that conceal the depth of the downturn while running up losses that have already climbed into the billions of Euros.

And there are few signs that industry leaders – or government regulators – are ready to come together on a common solution that can resolve endemic problems, such as overcapacity, only made worse by the broader European economic meltdown.

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“We are not very bullish about Europe next year,” said a glum Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, during an appearance at the Paris Motor Show.  “We do not see a rebound in Europe for several years.”


No Plans to Replace Ailing Opel with Chevrolet

Chevy gaining ground in a plunging European market – but profits are another matter.

by on Oct.02, 2012

Chevrolet's European chief Susan Docherty.

Despite growing calls for General Motors to abandon its increasingly troubled Opel brand, there are no plans to replace the German-based subsidiary with Chevrolet – one of the few brands actually gaining sales and market share despite the ongoing collapse of the European automotive market.

Nonetheless, Chevy appears to be the best opportunity GM has for regaining some momentum in Europe, said Susan Docherty, the veteran executive who took over Chevrolet’s European operations last January.

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From a peak of more than 17 million vehicles a year, Docherty said the European market could dip to somewhere between 14.0 million and 14.3 million in 2013, which she termed “very scary numbers.”  Even so, her goal is to continue building the Chevy brand’s sales and market share. Relatively new to the European market, the bow-tie brand sold 206,000 vehicles in Europe last year and is on track for a 5% gain for all of 2012.


Chevrolet Makes Trax in Paris

US left on the sidelines.

by on Oct.01, 2012

Chevrolet is looking to the new Trax compact crossover to continue building momentum in Europe.

The most American of General Motors’ many worldwide brands, Chevrolet has been making rapid gains around the globe since GM emerged from bankruptcy – and nowhere is that more apparent than in Europe, where it is one of the very few makers to post both sales and market share gains for the first eight months of 2012.

Considering the near-collapse of the European market, that’s no mean feat – and one that will rely on new products to keep the momentum building.  New products like the Chevrolet Trax making its debut at this year’s Paris Motor Show.

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The Chevrolet Trax is a Korean-made compact crossover based on GM’s Gamma II platform – which is shared with several other models including the new Opel Mokka and the Buick Encore.  A modified version of the platform is also used for the new Chevy Sonic model that’s gotten off to a good start since its U.S. introduction for the 2012 model-year.


From Watchmaker’s Son to Auto Pioneer, Tracing the Roots of Louis Chevrolet

Honoring a native son.

by on Mar.16, 2012

He tried his hand at making cars but the real passion for Louis Joseph Chevrolet was racing them.

Better late than never for the town of La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Nestled into the snow-covered Alps, it’s not a place the tourists often go, even if it is the third-largest community in the French-speaking cantons of Switzerland.  Yet its reach is surprisingly broad.  A disproportionate share of the town’s residents tick off their days toiling in the watch industry, with eagerly-sought brands like Rolex, Omega, Movado and Girard-Perregaux headquartered here.

But some of La Chaux-de-Fonds’ more legendary citizens had to leave to find their fame, among them Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, better known as architect Le Corbusier, and Louis Joseph Chevrolet.  The latter, the son of a local watchmaker, was born in the Jura Mountains town in 1878 but left by the time he was 20 to pursue a career in racing and automobile manufacturing.

He is, of course, the man who lent his name to the Chevrolet Motor Car Company, which the American emigrant cofounded with Billy Durant – himself the founder of General Motors, who had been forced out of GM and was looking for a way to get back into the auto industry.  Their venture was officially registered on November 3, 1911, triggering the extensive centennial celebrations that ran most of last year.

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And for good reason.  After emerging from bankruptcy two years earlier, GM abandoned a number of brands, including well-known Pontiac, shifting emphasis to the marques still remaining.  Chevrolet is playing a particular important role as the singular focus of GM’s global expansion plans.  The maker set an all-time sales record of more than 5 million vehicles last month – clicking off an additional sale “every six seconds,” as Susan Docherty, president of Chevrolet of Europe is quick to point out.


Two Thirds of Chevy Sales Now Come From Abroad

The “Heartbeat of China”?

by on Oct.10, 2011

The Chevrolet Volt in China.

The “Heartbeat of America” is rapidly expanding its presence outside the U.S., two-thirds of Chevrolet sales expected to come from markets outside the U.S. this year.

With Chevy the only one of the five major global brands to increase its worldwide market share this year, it would not be a surprise, said a senior General Motors executive, if the bowtie marque were to eventually ring up four out of five of its sales in foreign markets.

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“That’s absolutely possible…though not a target,” said Mark Reuss, GM’s president of North American operations, following a dinner celebrating Chevrolet’s 100th anniversary.

The brand was founded on November 3, 1911 by race car driver Louis Chevrolet and entrepreneur William C. Durant – who was at the time exiled from General Motors, a company he had also created less than a decade earlier.


New Cruze Hatchback Backing Chevy’s European Assault

Mom and apple pie brand increasingly going global.

by on Mar.03, 2011

The Chevrolet Cruze hatchback - two-thirds of European buyers prefer 5-doors.

What’s more American, as the old ad slogan went, than “hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet?”  Well these days, it’s not only the USA you can see in your Chevy.

The maker is giving European motorists a first look at the new Cruze hatchback at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, the latest model in an expanding Chevrolet line-up on the Continent.  Europeans actually got the original Cruze sedan a bit ahead of the U.S. because of bankruptcy-related delays.  Now, bets Chevy, it can expand the compact model’s appeal by adding a 5-door.

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Europeans have traditionally been far more open to the utilitarian hatchback than buyers back in the States – in fact, Chevy officials estimate 5-doors, including wagons, accounting for about two-thirds of European sales.

And cracking Europe is critical for the brand, which has become increasingly global.  Until relatively recently, Chevy was limited to the North, Central and South American markets – in many, it is still the overwhelmingly dominant brand.  But it is now spreading its wings around the globe, pitching buyers from Beijing to Berlin.


Chevy Aiming To Top 1 Million In Europe

An American in Paris?

by on Oct.06, 2010

The Chevrolet Orlando is one of four new models the brand is launching at the Paris Motor Show.

It takes a bit of an effort to find for potential French buyers to find the Orlando crossover, one of four  new models wearing the Chevrolet badge debuting at this year’s Paris Motor Show.  Orlando and the rest are hidden in Hall 5, a good walk from the main pavilion where more mainstream brands, notably including the French domestics, Renault, Peugeot and Citroen, are on display.

Nonetheless, there’s been a steady stream of show-goers making the trek, underscoring Chevy’s surprising performance since it launched as a serious brand in the European market less than a decade ago.

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And it is encouraging the General Motors division to set its sights high.  By mid-decade, say company officials, they hope to more than double volume to over 1 million annually in Europe.

“Paris 2010 is a once-in-a-lifetime show for Chevrolet with four world premieres,” said Wayne Brannon, President and Managing Director of Chevrolet Europe, as the maker quickly rolled out the Orlando, Aveo, Captiva and Cruze hatchback during its brief, 15-minute press preview.