General Motors is seeing its transformation in Europe getting completed on a good pace, as most of its dealers who used to carry Chevrolet vehicles are now selling only Opel-branded units. GM pulled out Chevrolet in Europe in 2014 to focus on building up its Opel/Vauxhall units.
The decision was lauded as it brought to an end a rivalry between two brands that had cannibalized each other’s sales while rendering them less profitable. Michael Lohscheller, Opel’s chief financial officer, remarked that the dealer transition from Chevrolet to Opel is working well, with 85 percent have converted to selling only Opel.
He said that in the past, a customer visits a dealership looking for an Opel but buying with a Chevrolet. He added that Opel will be developing a range of models aimed at former customers of Chevrolet.
GM has seen to it that its European operations would return to profitability after it incurred around $18 billion in losses over the past 12 years. Lohscheller said that Opel showrooms will become bigger, adding that this represents a good opportunity to strengthen the brand.
He remarked that Opel will try to capture customers who were in the low-price segment of the market. He said that while sales in Russia seemed to be at the mercy of a fragile economy, GM remains "fully on track" to make its European business profitable by "mid-decade."
GM had around 1,900 Chevrolet dealers in Europe before pulling out the brand, but still uses the brand in Russia. Opel has seen its market share in western Europe jump 10.3 percent year-over-year to 7.6 percent in June, according to data from the Association of European Carmakers (ACEA).
Lohscheller remarked that Opel’s new models will help it increase sales and profitability. Opel’s volumes are expected to surge as the brand rolls out the next generation of the Opel Corsa in Europe at the end of 2014. [source: Reuters.com]