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Chevrolet pulls out of Europe

General Motors (GM) has announced that it is to withdraw its Chevrolet brand from Europe. The Detroit giant will now concentrate on its Vauxhall and Opel brands in the European market. Chevrolet cars will remain on sale in the UK for some time yet, though, before the withdrawal starts in 2016. The withdrawal will not be total and although GM will not have a 'mainstream' presence in Europe, it plans to continue to sell the brand's iconic vehicles, such as the Corvette Stingray.

General Motors (GM) has announced that it is to withdraw its Chevrolet brand from Europe. The Detroit giant will now concentrate on its Vauxhall and Opel brands in the European market. Chevrolet cars will remain on sale in the UK for some time yet, though, before the withdrawal starts in 2016. The withdrawal will not be total and although GM will not have a 'mainstream' presence in Europe, it plans to continue to sell the brand's iconic vehicles, such as the Corvette Stingray. The company will also continue to trade in Russia. The company cites Europe's 'difficult economic situation' for the decision.

Chevrolet sold 195,000 vehicles in Europe during 2012 and 137,000 in the 10 months up to the end of October 2013. Despite these figures, GM has continued to lose money in Europe and has had little success in differentiating its offering from the indigenous carmakers. Chevrolet is broadly positioned as an affordable mainstream marque in Europe, a niche that is already busy with local producers. Against this backdrop, sales have been achieved by offering keen prices, which in turn have hit margins. Dan Akerson insists that Europe remains a 'key region' for GM but said that the decision to withdraw its mainstream Chevrolet cars would "allow us to focus our investments where the opportunity for growth is greatest".

While GM's decision is perhaps a predictable outcome of a stagnating European market already crowded with mass market producers, the UK car market continues to grow. New car sales rose by 7% in November, totalling 159,581 vehicles. According to industry body, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), this was the best November figure since 2004, well before the economic downturn. Taking the year as a whole, figures are already up almost 10% on 2012, at 2.1 million units, with December's figures still to be added.

While GM is about to withdraw Chevrolet from Europe, its Detroit competitor, Ford, is increasing its presence. Ford has unveiled the new Mustang sports coupe and is to reverse a decision not to sell the vehicle in Europe. The Mustang has not been officially for sale in Europe since 1979 but the new model will be available in both Europe and China. In the past, big US muscle cars have not sold particularly well outside of the USA but the opening up of the Chinese market is seeing that position change. Ford cars are selling well in China and the Mustang should add a little desirability to the range.

 

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