• Nov 6, 2007


With a weakening US dollar and more competitive union contracts, exporting vehicles to Europe from the US is looking more and more plausible with each passing day. General Motors may soon be utilizing its under-worked US plants to pull off just such a thing, and the Opel Zafira could well be the first model built in the States for Euro consumption. Automobilwoche in Europe is reporting that Opel worker's council head Klaus Franz called a US-built Zafira a "distinct possibility", and that Chevrolet is planning on building a similar model for the U.S. market in mid-2009.

If GM can pull off building a vehicle in the States destined for Europe, it would strengthen its plant utilization in North America while also increasing European capacity. While there is only a slight chance this will happen, we think it would be a huge stride towards profitability in the General's largest market.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]


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  • 33 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Yes, Yes, Yes!

      I don't know what US designs meet the Euro pedestrian crash standards, but add any of them to the list and get them in motion.

      If/when the Chinese revalue their currency higher, US manufactured vehicles will be the lowest cost option in the European market. Rebadge them all as Opel. Think about it... a Brilliance, Chery, etc versus an Impala, HHR, or Cobalt at the same price??

      • 7 Years Ago
      Just let me know when I can buy a Zafira in N. Am.
      • 7 Years Ago
      On the surface this sounds like a possibility, but the high worker costs will continue to keep this from happening.

      Even if it did, which would be a good deal, we'd just be more ticked off seeing awesome compacts with diesels being made here that will never ever be driven in the u.s.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I love hearing the Japanese and Europeans built cars are better than American built cars comments. You guys do know that an Astra built in the United States is built using the exact same machinery as an Astra built in Europe. The tooling process is the exact same. MACHINES build these vehicles, not people.

      Also, for the last time, GM is talking about tooling American plants to build EXISTING OPEL MODELS. Not exporting Buicks, Chevys, Pontiacs, etc...
      • 7 Years Ago
      A question: How exactly would tha whole thing be cheaper than building Opels in China, India, Poland, Slovakia, Russia and so on? Sure, exchange rates are great with the low-priced dollar, but come on, a sallary in romania is like 600 dollars a month. Can the currency beat that? Also, what happens to the european opel plants? Last I heard they weren't exactly working 110%, 2 years ago they were going to close down the factory in Bochum because of low demand. How do you think germans would feel if they are presented with a choice to buy a 140 year old brand not manufactured in germany, or at least in europe. Its not like Siemens phones made in china, they want the auto industry to stay in germany. Saturn sky may fly, i've never seen one anyway, but cars like Corsa, Vectra and Astra are common sight, and knowing that they are built in america so that GM could utilize capacity and cut costs, instead of catering to the german workers... it may get ugly.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'll also add my ex-German GF's parents didn't own "European" cars. Mom loved her TURBOCHARGED Dodge Stealth Twin Turbo and she could have bought a 3000GT but didn't. Also Pop works for Audi and drives a Lexus, so there goes most of the post on here on what's better, whats better quality.

      I am concerned about SELECTION. Many people do not follow OEM recommended servicing and you know I am not a cry baby, if the car develops a rattle back to the dealership it goes. If its something I can fix without doing that, I FIX it and go on.

      People would love to tell me my Dodge Neon SRT-4 is an unrealiable POS, the truth is, it takes a better beating at the drag strip than MANY Honda do and while many Honda owners have to replace 50% of the stock parts on their cars to make it live "a 1/4 mile at a time" I have 90% of my stock parts including CLUTCH, plenty of 2nd gear burn outs on slicks and Its got 67K and MANY drag strip passes. The only noise is the rear seat which I leave UNbolted because A) I am lazy B) makes removal easier at the track, I go often.

      Its just a car, your not buying something you expect to last 50 years without doing much than putting gas in it. Even so those cars with million miles on them are things most people wouldn't drive that long anyway.... Like the Toyota on Autoblog with 600,000 miles on it, only some corny old man wouldn't give too "f's" about being seen in it when EVERYBODY ELSE DOES.

      • 7 Years Ago
      Nagmashot - totally agree. In my experience, in the US with some people Japanese cars are like a religion. If you say something along the lines of "this and this is a common problem for Nissan" some people will look at you as if you are insane - "what do you mean problem, Japanese cars are perfect, they run for a million miles and never break down".
      • 7 Years Ago
      Thing is, you always want thing you can't get. I live in Sweden, and I think that the vehicles produced for the American market are more exotic and attractive than Euro-adapted cars. Take the Focus, it's a quite boring, bland car over here. It may be good as for hauling you and your family, but it's not something appealing.
      I like the US Focus much better, since we don't have many small sedans.
      The most horrible thing is that we don't even have the American Chevrolet's, they're all rebranded Daewoo's!
      (however, thankfully, that's going to chance since they'll start selling the HHR here soon!)

      I say: Build cars American cars in America, not that dead-boring Zafira, and export to Europe, but maybe offer them with smaller engine options and stiffer suspention to better fit the customers expectations.
        • 7 Years Ago
        That may be up for debate as is what popular here is to bash the restyled Gen 1 North American Focus as we all want the MUCH improved Gen 2 version.

        That being said, yes you get MUCH less for your money in Europe. Many people drive Opels in Germany for example. They are affordable because everything else is costly. The "ballers" in Europe are the same as they are here and have the access to the same products largely. I find it funny that Clarkston ordered a Lambo and got rid of the Ford GT. Wait until he gets that first service bill for that Spyder he'll wish he keep that FORD.

        What would happen however if it comes to pass, is that cars like the Zafira (which I would own a OPC version) could be built cheaper here, imported back to Europe where they could say add more standard features for the current price.

        Overall I would like to see a World car market.

        I'm getting tired of not being able to get what I want because its in Europe only or in Japan only. If we can agree to a global emissions and safety standard then we would be much closer to that vision.

        I'd love to have a Fiesta ST. Yes I know its possible Ford could bring those here (more than likely build them in Mexico) but an ST model would be at least a year away (after the 09 release of the base car) and I want another option for a tiny commuter car than the Toyota Yaris for example.

        I'd REALLY like to have the Opel Corsa OPC... Now that's a HOT HATCH..





      • 7 Years Ago
      Does this mean that Peugeot and Fiat get to whine to the EU about how the Big 3 has a $4,000 price advantage due the US government's deliberate weakening of the dollar? Amazing that Detroit bitches about a yen that should be at $1.25 when it's at $1.15, but gets really quiet when the Euro has gone from 90 cents to $1.45 in four years. Sorry, Detroit, but the currency manipulation knife cuts both ways.

      Actually, I'm surprised Detroit hadn't hopped on this sooner. I guess it's been tabled in the various GM and Ford silos all this time...

      • 7 Years Ago

      Great news, and if the dollar sinks even lower, we'll be manufacturing and exporting cheap plastic good to China!
      • 7 Years Ago
      a comment to quality.. I have never owned a US car. But here we have many US soldiers owning US cars and I see a wide range every day...

      From what I see the finishing qualtiy of US cars is pretty poor(specialy pre 2000), getting older they start to rust much more as europen, .. the relibilty I can´t comment... I often hear quotes the make wired noise from first day but they run and run and run.. mechanical they look ok.

      According to Europen relibilty rankings only Honda and Subaru are good.. Toyota has dropped pretty badly (the faster they grow the worse the quality gets) and Nissan is below industry average since years..
      In 2006 Toyota droped completley out of every car class top ten ranking in europens largest relaiabilty satistic (which is NOT JD power Europe)
      US Euro models from Ford and GM are not better or worse than Honda or Europen brands...

      Only in the USA Japanese cars are belived to be the god´s in reliabilty... in europe not... I guess the main reason is we don´t care what J.D. power claims.. we care what car owner clubs like ADAC claims..they are payed by car owners not the car industry like J.D.Power.
      Their statistic is based on hard facts (2.7 million car brake downs) not consumer claims
      • 7 Years Ago
      I doubt Europeans will embrace the Diminishing-3's poor designs and sub par quality. Cadillacs are doing bupkes there.
        • 7 Years Ago
        You should probably read that article again. They're not pawning Caddies off an Europeans. They're building already existing European models HERE and then sending them THERE.
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