General Motors announced today the overwhelming majority of its former European Chevrolet dealerships have successfully converted to Opel stores, now selling only Opel-branded vehicles, Reuters reports. Chevrolet announced late last year it would cease operations in Europe in order to increase Opel’s market share and reduce the amount of in-house competition in the region.
“The dealer transition from Chevy to Opel is working extremely well. 85 percent have converted to selling only Opel,” said Opel’s chief financial officer, Michael Lohscheller.
To help fill the void left by Chevrolet, Opel will begin developing a range of more affordable models. The first of these will be a replacement for the Agilia, which will share certain parts and a platform with the next-generation Chevrolet Spark.
“For us this is a really good opportunity to strengthen the Opel brand. We will try to capture customers who were in the low-price segment (of the market),” Lohscheller said.
GM has been focusing on its European business ventures as of late after the automaker racked up more than $18 billion in losses in the region over the course of the past 12 years. Now, it has a plan to return Opel to profitability by mid-decade through releasing a number of new models and new engines. Lohscheller said GM is currently “fully on track” with its plans to make its European operations profitable.
In June, Opel’s European market share rose by 10.3 percent 7.6 percent when compared to the same time period last year. Sales and profitability are expected to climb even further as Opel introduces more new models, including the recently unveiled Corsa hatchback.