General Motors CEO Dan Akerson says he’s frustrated by the “confusing” overlap between GM’s Chevy and Opel brands in Europe, which is reminiscent of pre-recession GM.
Akerson said the conflict between the two brands is reminiscent of “retro GM,” when the company’s U.S. market strategy was cluttered by overlapping brands. The CEO’s concerns also could signal that a major strategic shift is ahead to change the company’s brand strategy there.
“It is of concern to me,” Akerson said in an interview. “Something has to change. I just think there’s channel conflict and confusion.”
His remarks are the most forceful public comments yet from GM on the need to sort out its brand mix in Europe. Despite several years of efforts to move Opel upmarket to clear a path for Chevy’s growth as an entry-level player, both brands continue to be seen as similarly positioned, mainstream marques.
Akerson said that GM is working on a plan to resolve the problem but declined to discuss potential strategies. Chevrolet sales in Europe slid 19 % through September, to 112,452. Opel/Vauxhall sales, helped by sharp demand for a few new nameplates, including the Opel Mokka crossover, slipped 4 %, to 630,453 units, in line with the overall market’s decline. GM has lost more than $18 billion in Europe since 1999 and hopes to break-even there by mid-decade.
Via Automotive News Europe