General Motors plans to expand its lineup in Russia as the country’s economy continues to recover. That much is according to a recent WardsAuto report.
GM all but pulled out of the Russian market in 2015, as the nation’s economy was hit by a fiscal crisis caused by Western economic sanctions and the falling value of the ruble. The automaker pulled its Chevrolet brand out of the country’s mainstream vehicle segments and notwithstanding the GM-AvtoVAZ joint venture that produces the Chevrolet-branded Niva SUV, also halted manufacturing operations and completely discontinued the Opel brand, which it recently sold to French automaker PSA Groupe. The developments left GM selling only the Chevrolet Corvette, Camaro, and Tahoe as well as the majority of Cadillac models in the country, enabling the likes of Kia and Hyundai to significantly grow sales and market share.
GM recently took its first step to expanding its lineup of Chevrolets by announcing that it will sell the all-new 2018 Chevrolet Traverse in Russia. The move is a first for GM and for Chevrolet, as the nameplate has never been sold in Russia — a market that has been as hungry for crossovers and SUVs over the past decade as the United States has become over the last year.
As to what the reported expansion of the Chevrolet brand in Russia could entail beyond the Traverse is currently unclear, though it would make sense to fight Kia and Hyundai with the complete Chevy portfolio, including the Spark, Sonic, Cruze, Malibu and Impala. Even more importantly is the fact that the market is ripe for such vehicles as the Trax/Tracker B-segment and Equinox C-segment crossovers, along with what has been reported as an upcoming all-new Chevy Blazer midsize crossover. Fortunately, Chevrolet is held in high regard in the country, especially when it comes to crossovers and SUVs.
Beyond Chevrolet, some logical thinking would peg The General in offering the full suite of future Cadillac sedans and crossovers, of which there will be at least three of each. Doing so would be substantially lucrative for the luxury brand along with its parent firm, while building the image of the Cadillac brand in a land that has become overwhelmingly dominated by Korean imports at GM’s expense.