Opel needs more separation from Chevy in Europe, says chief

Article by Anita Panait, on November 29, 2013

Opel and Chevrolet should be further differentiated from each other and be developed separately in Europe, Opel chief executive Karl-Thomas Neumann remarked during his presentation at the Automobilwoche Congress last week. “There is a lot of scope to improve the market positioning of Opel and Chevrolet," Neumann remarked, adding that to better reach out to their target groups, the brands must be separated more clearly from one another – something that they are working on and will talk about at the right time.

Neumann's remarks echoes statements by General Motors chief executive Dan Akerson over his plans to differentiate the two GM brands in Europe. He recently told Automotive News Europe that he is frustrated by the "confusing" overlap between Opel and Chevrolet in Europe. He likened the discord between Opel and Chevrolet to "retro GM," when its market strategy in the US was filled with overlapping brands.

There seems to be a gap between statements by Akerson and Neumann and those of Chevrolet Europe chief Thomas Sedran. Sedran remarked at the Frankfurt auto show in September that there is "very little interaction between" Opel and Chevrolet.  GM has been trying to differentiate the two brands; moving Opel upmarket and making Chevrolet an entry-level player.

Efforts were futile though as both brands remains to be viewed as similarly positioned, mainstream brands. Neumann remarked that Opel had already made steps to restructure its operations. He remarked that Opel’s market share in Europe has remained at 6.8 percent in the first 10 months of 2013. Despite that, he said that it was too early to celebrate, warning that "2014 will be another difficult year."

Topics: opel, chevrolet, europe

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