GM wants to move Opel more upmarket in Europe, push Chevy as an entry-level brand

General Motors said that it plans to move struggling Opel more upmarket in Europe, while bringing in Chevrolet as a its entry-level brand into the market.

During a presentation to analysts in Detroit yesterday, GM CEO Dan Akerson and Chief Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick, said that GM will try to use Opel’s German heritage to connect with consumers and compete with brands like Volkswagen.

They admitted that Chevrolet, which was relaunched in Europe in 2005, will have a difficult time becoming its sole entry-level brand in Europe.

“This is a market where Chevrolet will always have a difficult time penetrating,” Ewanick said.

Akserson said that Opel only needs to grow slightly to compete in Europe, specifically Germany.

“Where we lost most of our market share in the five years leading up to the bankruptcy is in Germany, so we need to revitalize that brand,” Akerson said. “We’ve done it with Buick in North America. We need to grow market share with Opel by only a couple of percent because I believe we’re on the cusp.”

According to estimated registration data from ACEA covering 28 European countries, during the first six months of 2011, Opel/Vauxhall sales were up 2 percent to 549,125 units. Chevrolet sales fell 1 percent in Europe to 92,061.

– By: Omar Rana

Source: Automotive News