Following the announcement by General Motors (GM) in December 2013 that it is withdrawing the Chevrolet brand from Europe, I commented back in December that this creates space for an affordable GM brand in Europe. This possibility is further supported by the fact that GM is seeking to move the Opel/Vauxhall brands upmarket with models such as the Cascada convertible, which seeks to target open versions of premium cars such as the Audi A5 and BMW 3-Series (or 4-Series as it is now known with the launch of the latest iteration). It is therefore with much interest that I read about Opel’s plans for budget vehicles but still wonder about GM’s brand strategy in Europe.
Defining value vehicles is rather subjective but the brands that I consider to qualify have seen their sales in West Europe soar by 68% between 2004 and 2013 and even by 35% since the car market peaked in 2007. To put this into perspective, demand for mainstream cars was 24% lower in 2013 than in 2007 and even the premium brands registered 14% fewer cars. With the European demise of Chevrolet expected by the end of 2015, this does leave an opportunity for GM to offer new vehicles to compete in the value segment.