Back in 2005, General Motors' Chevrolet brand wasn't much of a player in Europe. With the help of some re-badged Daewoo models and a bit of marketing effort, the Bowtie doubled its sales volume by 2008. That's no small feat in any market, much less a region as cutthroat competitive as Europe. The General's meat-and-potatoes marque even held relatively steady in 2009, as sales dropped 14 percent in the region mainly because of a 56 percent drop in sales in recession-plagued Russia. In Western Europe, Chevrolet saw a 7.8 percent increase in sales for the year, buoyed by various cash-for-clunkers programs in countries like France and the UK.
But while sales of 425,000 vehicles in a down year sounds like a nice story for Chevrolet, The General wants a lot more in the years ahead. Wards Automotive is reporting that GM is looking to move one million Chevy vehicles in Europe by 2015, more than doubling the volume of Bowtie branded sales in a mere six years. The General will reportedly stretch to achieve this goal by cutting down on re-badged Daewoo models and instead offering more global Chevy vehicles like the Volt, Spark, Cruze, Aveo and Orlando.
Some critics wonder if Chevrolet's success is coming at the expense of Opel. After all, while Chevy sales increased by nearly eight percent, Opel's fortunes dropped by nearly six percent. Not so, says Chevrolet Europe President Wayne Brannon. Brannon told Wards that the company's marketing data shows that Opel shoppers rarely cross the isle and shop Chevy.
Will the EuroGeneral reach its lofty goal of one million sales in 2015? We have no idea, but it seems like every automaker has some lofty sales goal for 2015, and we're thinking at least a few are destined for disappointment.
[Source: Wards Automotive – sub. req.]