EuroChevy Runs Out of Gas
In what seems like a curious move from General Motors, Chevrolet today reports it will no longer promote or sell Chevy-branded cars in Europe by the end of 2015.
This is a very complex decision, but one that has sound business principles at its core.
Europeans do not want to buy Chevrolet cars. Period.
Most new brands, like Infiniti, face an uphill battle to sway these entrenched buyers with very specific brand loyalties to local marques. But let us say Infiniti started at a brand index of 0, and is working to move that index closer to BMW’s 100.
The process takes years and billions of dollars.
But let us say Chevrolet – the iconic, adored American bow-tie brand – started in this hypothetical brand index with a score of -100. So their challenge in catching BMW is thus 1000X more difficult than Infiniti’s similar goals.
For comparison purposes, this helps me understand the choice to focus on Opel across continental Europe, and Vauxhall in the UK.
The implications will be wide-spread for General Motors, but could be the right decision.
Opel is a huge German engineering powerhouse, despite its brand foibles, and can develop exceptional cars with global appeal. One might even say that the eroding fortunes of Vauxhall and Opel were – in part – caused by Chevrolet’s competing brand rollout since 2009.
If a Buick outside Europe, or called a Holden in Australia: the excellence of the products will be the true barometer of future success from Chevrolet’s GM parent.
The Manchester United soccer jersey sponsorship by Chevy for $500 million through ~2017 is starting to look even more ridiculous than ever before.
Hopefully the bowtie sponsor locations can be changed to the Vauxhall Griffin…