GM hints at possible full-scale comeback to Europe

Article by Christian A., on December 20, 2017

General Motors has long faced issues in the European market. After years of experiencing losses, as well as weakening sales, the brand earlier this year sold off not only its Vauxhall brand but even the Opel brand. Opel is the main brand name that GM uses in Europe with the exception of the U.K. In the United Kingdom, Vauxhall, a British subsidiary of Opel, uses its very own brand name.

GM had disclosed that its European operations experienced a $257 million loss, the 16th year it had done so. GM would then sell the Opel and Vauxhall brands to the PSA Group in a deal valued at $2.3 billion.

For those familiar with the matter, the European operations of Chevrolet, known way back as Daewoo, was also halted in 2013. This was after the Chevrolet brand experienced losses amounting to $18 billion over several years. The phaseout was completed by the later part of 2015. Saab, which is another GM brand, was initially sold in 2010 before succumbing to bankruptcy by 2012.

Even then, GM revealed that it has not completely closed its door on this part of the world. While the brand does not have a mainstream brand for this market, Cadillac models remain to be sold across Europe in a network composed of 45 dealerships. This is limited mainly though to Switzerland and Germany with a plan to expand at some point. Cadillac is not the only model as the Camaro and the Corvette, both from Chevrolet, are also available in different regions across Europe, albeit in a limited number.

CEO Mary Barra did disclose that a full-scale return of the brand to Europe could still be possible in the future. In an interview with the Detroit Automotive Press Association, CEO Barra said there is nothing preventing the brand from returning to Europe and GM would always consider the possibility of a more permanent return.

It is worth noting to customers in Europe not to expect brands like the Buick and Chevrolet to be available for sale anytime in the near future. According to Barra, in order to make the return of the brand to Europe more meaningful, it will likely release a range of “transformative products” like electric cars or even self-driving cars. Similar to what other automakers are doing, GM is presently developing autonomous models and electric models. The brand though has yet to sell such models in large numbers.

Barra further disclosed that Europe is not the lone major area it is planning on leaving. She added that it is also studying the likelihood of leaving South Africa and India. She revealed that the brand will always think about making a grand return. However if such is not feasible, Barra continued, the brand would prefer to invest in areas that present better opportunities.

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Topics: gm, europe

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