lunes, 10 de abril de 2017

GM in Europe

First things first, I am now working for a Renault dealership. Since it could affect my bias, consider yourselves warned.

A couple of decades ago, GM had Daewoo, Opel/Vauxhall and Saab dealerships across Europe. It made very good sense, since Daewoo was a cheap Korean manufacturer, Opel a mid range German car company and Saab was a premium Scandinavian nameplate.

Then, out of the blue, GM decided to rebadge Daewoo as Chevrolet. The company's lineup had improved, and it was considered easier to rename the company than changing people's minds that Daewoo had improved. And, since we had Chevrolet, we Catalans and most Europeans could buy the great  Camaro and the not so great HHR.

The decision had an undesired side effect. Who could have guessed Chevrolet would steal sales from Opel/Vauxhall? Pretty much everybody, but hey, no one thought about it at GM. So after millions spent to sell Daewoo in the first place and some more cash to rename the company as Chevrolet, GM spent some more money killing Chevrolet in Europe.

I have already written about Saab's death by GM before. It was a mistake, and a rather big one. Especially when you consider what goes next.

Just a few weeks ago, GM decided to sell Opel/Vauxhall to the PSA group (Peugeot an Citroën) Opel had been losing money for a few years in a row, and it was better to sell it than killing it.

Until you realize, that is, that GM has managed to get rid of all of its European presence. Because, Cadillac, you know, barely exists here. I have no doubt that, one by one, all these decisions made some sense. But there is a lack of strategy here. No long term plan. GM, you have a problem here. The European Union has roughly 500 million people in it. More than the USA, Canada and Mexico combined.

I think GM has forgotten it is a car company. Unless they rethink themselves, the company is doomed.