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Chevrolet's European exodus: Will this be the last brand to turn its back on Europe?

Chevrolet will cease to exist as a new car brand in the UK by the end of 2015, once again putting into perspective how tough the UK market is to crack.


♦   Chevrolet sales have declined year-on-year since 2009  
GM’s losses in Europe since 1999 have exceeded $18 billion  
20% of network are solus sites

Read Jay Nagley's column on what Chevrolet's exit means for Vauxhall

Chevrolet is the latest brand exit from the UK market following Saab in 2011. However, unlike Saab, Chevrolet as a brand will still exist outside Europe and the mainstream press has not picked up on its exit in the same way. GM will focus its efforts in Western and Eastern Europe on the Opel and Vauxhall brands and on iconic vehicles, such as the Corvette Stingray.

In the UK, Chevrolet sales peaked at 18,660 in 2009 (when it achieved its best market share of 0.94%), but have declined year-on-year since. Its registrations fell to 13,476 units (0.66% share) in 2012 and to 11,767 units in 2013 (0.52% share).

There are currently 72 franchised outlets. At its peak in 2007, it had 96. Some 70% of the network is co-branded with Vauxhall, typically by the larger dealer groups.

AM100 groups such as Marshall, Pentagon, Peter Vardy, Vertu and Caffyns have ceased representing the brand since 2012.

Four months before GM’s decision to drop Chevrolet, Dr Thomas Sedran, president and managing director, Chevrolet Europe, acknowledged the brand’s problems in a competitive market: “We need to appeal more to younger customers to help differentiate our cars from Opel.


“We are not among the top five when people are choosing a car. We will concentrate on our brand values, which are expressive design, value for money and a good price. We will push the fact that Chevrolet enables people to stay connected and that’s very important for young buyers.”

Business analyst Jay Nagley, managing director of Redspy, told AM: “At present, people can go into a dealer for a Chevrolet and be sidetracked by a great deal on the equivalent Vauxhall.”

GM’s losses in Europe since 1999 have exceeded $18 billion, including a $214 million deficit in Q3 2013.

The carmaker began selling Chevrolet models in Europe in 2005, re-badging low-cost vehicles made by its Daewoo division in South Korea. GM Europe will close its Bochum factory in Germany at the end of 2014. (Read Jay Nagley’s analysis on page 34 on the implications for GM’s other brands in Europe).

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  • GoldenBow - 13/08/2015 21:32

    GM where very lazy with the Chevrolet brand. They didn't spend enough on advertising etc. I bet most people didn't even know you could get Chevrolet's in the UK. They brought it to Europe as a 'budget' brand to run alongside the Vauxhall/Opel cars. However, the prices did not reflect this. The Chevrolet cars where still up there at top prices. If they had stuck to their original plan and really made Chevrolet a budget brand in the UK, then they would really have given the likes of Hyundai, Kia, Suzuki, and Skoda a run for their money. Not to mention Proton and Dacia! (I can not believe Chevrolet are leaving the UK while-especially- the likes of the last two companies still remain) Dacia is thriving from using spare parts of Renault cars, so why couldn't GM do that with Vauxhall/Opel parts on Chevrolet's? That way, they could have made Vauxhall/Opel a more premium brand while slotting Chevrolet into the mainstream/budget category.