General Motors is planning to fill the void left by the departure of Chevrolet from Europe with budget entry-level cars from Opel. GM and Opel are working on gaining market share in the region and are looking at capitalizing onthe entry level segment which low-cost automaker Dacia is currently thriving in.
“Dacia is a great thing. (GM) is definitely not Dacia, but this whole budget and entry-level market segment is very interesting. They can be admired,” Opel CEO Dr. Karl-ThomasNeumann told Financial Times. “We are definitely looking at the segment.”
Dacia, which is owned by French automaker Renault, has seen success in Europe due to its no-nonsense, affordable lineup of vehicles. When combined with the economic downturn in much of Europe, Dacia has turned out to be one of Renault’s most important assets. The brand has seen sales spike 61 percent in the last two years, while the rest of the European automotive market has tapered off.
Last December, GM announced it would pull Chevrolet from Europe in order to “improve the Opel and Vauxhall brands and reduce the market complexity associated with having Opel and Chevrolet in Western and Eastern Europe.” Many of the models offered by the bowtie in Europe we’re small, cheap cars such as the Spark and Aveo.
“We had Chevrolet, which looked like a budget brand, but it was not,” Mr Neumann said. “We think there is some possibility for Opel to come up with some entry-level product, specifically now Chevrolet is out of the market.”