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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.


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.