Conventional wisdom would dictate that Chevrolet sales in Europe should accelerate as more and more buyers battered by the continent's sour economy look to save money by choosing small, inexpensive cars over larger, more expensive options. After all, Chevrolet is positioned as General Motors' value brand, and it offers a number of affordable vehicles in popular inexpensive segments. Globally, Chevy sales are up four percent so far this year.

All of this is why Chevy's declining sales in Europe come as a something of a mystery. According to Automotive News, sales of the Spark and Matiz twins have fallen 37 percent to 12,245 units through April of 2013. The Aveo (now sold in North America under the Sonic nameplate) posted similar declines, falling 44 percent to 10,235 units. Other budget brands like Dacia and Kia have registered significant gains over the same period.

So, why the sales funk? Industry analysts cited by AN point a finger at Chevy's aging designs and their comparatively high fuel consumption – Chevy's average carbon emissions (which can determine taxation rates) put it in 18th place in Europe out of 20 total automakers. Further problems arise when you consider that some of Chevy's popular models can also be found in Opel and Vauxhall dealerships, albeit with revisions designed to give Opel "a distinctive brand positioning" to "aim at different customers," says GM.

Clearly, Chevy's offering and market position aren't working as well as GM would like, and analysts aren't predicting any significant improvement until 2016, when some of its aging models are slated to be replaced.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 61 Comments
      Jerry
      • 2 Years Ago
      Where's Reggie? This article was written for him!
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jerry
        [blocked]
      timber
      • 2 Years Ago
      Chevrolet suffers from having started in Europe (well they were probably here before but I'm talking about the current period) as a Daewoo rebrand. One day you had a Daewoo, the next day the same cars were sold as Chevrolets. Therefore they aren't positioned as a value brand (like Renault or Peugeot or Ford). They positioned themselves as a cheap brand and now they need to overcome that in addiction that a lack of simple knowledge about the brand. They have taken wise steps in offering something Europeans like like the hatchback and wagon Cruze with engines Europeans want to buy (diesels) and these models seem to be selling reasonably well. The rest of the lineup needs refreshing a some quality improving. The Aveo has a too cheap cabin quality for European standards. In the end what Chevrolet really needs is time and Marketing effort. We take our time to trust a brand. Kia is now starting to improve and they have been going at it for around 20 years (Dacia everybody knows that is a different Reanault so they got that advantage, and they are really cheap). Chevrolet also needs to decide what to do with Opel...
      throwback
      • 2 Years Ago
      Isn't every mainstream company in a sales funk in Europe?
        Neil
        • 2 Years Ago
        @throwback
        Not quite. Opel/Vauxhall has posted increased sales in some months recently, as has Volkswagen. But Chevrolet isn't a mainstream brand in Europe - Opel & Vauxhall are the mainstream brands and Chevrolet is a value brand. The other value brands, such as Hyundai, Kia, Skoda and Dacia are successful, but not Chevrolet.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Stugots
      • 2 Years Ago
      No highs, no lows, it must be Bose.
        Dean
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Stugots
        The difference is, Bose actually puts out some cool looking stuff...
      ihatedavebushell
      • 2 Years Ago
      Maybe because they are all **** compared to the competition - its not a mystery, smart people take the same money and buy a better car instead!
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        bK
        • 2 Years Ago
        Agree, chevy is just full of greedy executives who just want a piece of their pie, so they keep on looking for ways to cut costs, like rebadging, outsourcing etc...
      Hazdaz
      • 2 Years Ago
      GM has done a great job over the last few years updating Cadillac and even keeping Buick alive. They have done a good job more recently with Chevy's mid-size and larger vehicles (mostly sold in the USDM) as well as their trucks and the Vette, but its lower end cars still have this air of cheapness to them. In a HIGHLY competitive market like Europe, your cars can't appear cheap. Customers there expect even their smaller cars to have a ton of style, good quality and innovative features. GM needs to put in more effort into their small cars for Europeans to accept them.
      mapoftazifosho
      • 2 Years Ago
      Maybe its because Jeremy Clarkson told them all that the Chevy models are simply re-badged Daewoo models...EU consumers a tad more savvy than Americans.
        Neil
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mapoftazifosho
        He has a point. Look at where the European market Chevrolet's are built: Spark: Changwon, South Korea, a factory that previously built the Daewoo Tico and Matiz Aveo: Bupyeong, South Korea, a factory that previously built the Daewoo LeMans, Nexia, Lanos and Kalos Cruze & Orlando: Kunsan, South Korea, a factory that previously built the Daewoo Nubira, Rezzo/Tacuma and Lacetti. Captiva & Malibu: Bupyeong, South Korea, a factory that previously built the Daewoo Prince, Leganza and Magnus
      bubba_roe
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ugly little turd.
      quuppa70
      • 2 Years Ago
      It was mistake to rebadge Korean cars as Chevrolet, everybody knowns their origin, same time they spoiled the brands quite good image in Europe.
      ferps
      • 2 Years Ago
      Among developed economies, the US is an outlier with its cheap fuel, low gas taxes and lack of carbon tax. Because of this, American automakers are less invested in improving fuel economy. They may invest in moonshots like the Chevy Volt which are developed with an eye towards the future, but as a whole the US automakers are poorly equipped to deal with the current reality of crushing fuel prices that plague most of the developed world, especially Europe.
        Dean Hammond
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ferps
        Im not so sure thats 100% accurate, the American manufacturers have had CAFE and the EPA DEMAND ever increasing mileage in the hope of decreasing dependence on the Foreign Oil and to lower greenhouse gases...and as a result their MPG ratings have increased expodentially to be basically competitive with anything Europe manufactures...and before you mention Diesels, they havent been embraced here really either, as Diesel carries an approx 30 percent cost, so hybrids may offer abetter alternative, not to mention freedom from Diesel particulates, higher drivetrain costs and potential service expense...High Pressure Fuel Pump replacement VW?....$6000..........besides that, also, remember before touting Euro MPGS, please either divide by 82% for the US equivilent, or multiply the US rating by 118%....40mpgs here is equivilant to 47.2.....
          Hazdaz
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          CAFE hadn't gone up for some TWENTY YEARS. This was all while market pressures in Europe and Japan have continually forced car makers to invest heavily in fuel efficiency. Detroit is playing catch up, and to a big degree, its because of our idiotic tax policies here that rewarded inefficiency. While the USDM was the kind-of-the-hill and the only market that mattered, the Detroit carmakers were (for the most part) fine. But as the car market (just like all other markets) became more and more internationally-focused, Detroit was (and to a degree still is) at a big disadvantage.
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