Chevrolet might be General Motors‘ (NYSE:GM) best selling brand globally, but it’s still not doing too hot in Europe — a region where car buyers are especially choosy as the continent descends deeper into economic crisis.
An Automotive News report elucidates that analysts blame Chevrolet’s lack of focus in Europe and its aging product lineup (that is not set to be replaced until 2016) for the carmaker’s decline in the region. The brand saw a sales slump of 33 percent to 45,706 in a total market down 7 percent, industry body ACEA reports.
And unfortunately for Chevrolet, its competition seems to be faring just fine. Hyper aware of the fact that car buyers in Europe are looking for smaller, more affordable vehicles, rivals Dacia and Kia has been able to post gains in the region, with Dacia’s sales rising to 18 percent Kia’s up 4 percent. These brands’ design and engineering headquarters are also more central to Europe, helping them maintain a focus in the region. Hyundai and Kia have centers based in Germany whille Renault’s Dacia is based in Romania with a headquarters in Paris. Comparatively, most of Chevrolet’s cars sold in Europe are built by GM Daewoo in South Korea, effectively putting a significant distance between from the area where the automaker’s vehicles are produced, and where they’re sold.
For Chevrolet to make a comeback in the region, it has revamp its aging lineup with newer models that are able to compete with competitors for fuel efficiency, as this is an increasingly important factor for buyers in a region that not only has heightened fuel prices, but also taxes its vehicles that post poor fuel economy. Auto News reports that Chevrolet’s car fleet in Europe posts average CO2 emissions that afford it the No. 18 rank of 20 manufacturers.
Thus, Chevrolet will need to work on a new solution if it wants to revive the popularity of its Spark/Matiz minicar and Aveo subcompact vehicles. While these smaller cars should attract the money-conscious Europeans, recent sales reports illustrate that the opposite is true. Sales of the Spark/Matiz declined 37 percent from January to April, similar to figures posted by the Aveo whose sales dove by 44 percent.
Though the brand’s big picture demonstrates that Chevrolet is still doing well globally, posting first-quarter sales of 2.36 million, up 4 percent from the year before, it will need to make up significant ground once its aging lineup is revamped.