In a recent analysis presentation in the US, a range of General Motors executives, including GM CEO Dan Akerson and Chief Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick, discussed plans to turn Opel into an upmarket brand in Europe, and reintroduce Chevrolet as an entry-level brand.
The GM executives said the company needed to separate each of its brands by giving each one a distinct identity. One of the first brand images on the development list is Opel. The executives said it would be the ideal brand to take on an upmarket position, and, more importantly, provide more compelling competition to Volkswagen.
Since Opel already has perhaps the best foundations for a prestigious image to be developed upon, it has been earmarked as the clear choice. Ewanick was quoted as saying in a recent Automotive News report,
“Opel, because of its heritage and because its a German brand, will be a very viable option for customers looking for a car in Germany, and gets us an opportunity to combat our Volkswagen competitor on their home turf.”
In order to do this, CEO Dan Akerson says the brand needs to grow first. So far this year, Opel and Vauxhall – both owned by GM – sales have risen just two per cent. He says the brand needs added growth in order to fulfil the upmarket segment.
“Where we lost most of our market share in the five years leading up to the bankruptcy is in Germany, so we need to revitalise that brand. 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.”
On the back of this, the presentation discussed plans for Chevrolet, which was introduced in Europe in 2005. The brand hasn’t done too well since then, and currently makes up 2.5 per cent of the market. Akerson said one logical thing GM could do was “start manufacturing Chevrolets in Europe at some point in time. That’s on our strategic to-do list”.