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Chevy, Cadillac to Lead GM’s Global Expansion

Long-troubled Opel relegated to also-ran.

by on Jun.08, 2011

The Chevrolet Volt in China. The Chevy and Cadillac brands will now serve as GM's lead global marques.

General Motors is working on a dual-brand emphasis that will put Chevrolet and Cadillac in the position of lead brands as the maker presses forward with its global expansion, according to GM chairman and chief executive Dan Akerson.

The move relegates brands like Buick and GMC to regional responsibilities, but it also appears to downgrade the role of Opel, the German-based subsidiary that had long been GM’s lead brand outside North America.

“Creating a global dual-brand strategy with Cadillac and Chevrolet, flanked by regional brands in places like China, Australia and Europe,” is one of the challenges facing General Motors, Akerson said during GM’s first stockholders meeting in Detroit since 1990.

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Brands such as Opel, Holden and Buick will have supporting roles, said Akerson, who also told reporters he would like to see Cadillac built in other parts of the world as part of the dual brand strategy.  Insiders say there’s a good likelihood that could result in a Cadillac model coming off one of GM’s assembly lines in China, where it is now the largest automaker, with a 15% share of the booming market.