New Chevrolet executives' assignment: Quick results in Europe
General Motors CEO Dan Akerson made 1 of the very critical strategic moves of his threeyear tenure last week by installing as the first international leader of Chevrolet Alan Batey in its 102year history.
Chevrolet's inability to create a foothold in Europe is the sole real blemish on an otherwise sudden, decadelong international growth for GM's biggest brand.
Batey's appointment is a longterm move aimed at unifying the brand's identity across the earth to drive growth.
Chevrolet's yearly sales in Europe have yet to split 200,000 units. They've decreased dramatically this year, falling 31 percent through May in a marketplace that was down 7 percent, according to business organization ACEA. Meanwhile, the Ford brand outsells almost 6 to Chevrolet - to - 1 in Europe, last year delivering 939, 409 units.
"We haven't done it as nicely as I would have expected in western Europe," Akerson told reporters last week. "We must take a fresh look."
Elsewhere, Chevrolet's growth has been notable.
Last year 63 percent of the brand's international sales came from beyond the United States, compared with only 27 percent in 2002. Chevrolet is sold in 140 countries, twice the amount from ten years ago. Core products like the Spark, Cruze and Malibu are marketed in more than one hundred countries; five years past the brand had no so-called international cars.
Brand sales in China rocketed to 690,382 units last year, great for sixth place complete, from only 3,569 units in 2002.
He recognizes that every market deserves its own flavors and subtleties. "We have got to allow for enough variance or flexibility to match the marketplace," he said. But he added: "I do not need it done by distinct organizations. I need a coordinated view."
That is Batey's new work in summary.
Batey says a huge part of his occupation will be getting the best vehicles to the best markets.
For example, he says there is a larger chance to expand truck sales in several markets with variants of the Colorado midsized pick-up which was started in Thailand in 2011 and is scheduled for an U.S. introduction in late
But part of his occupation will probably be saying "no" to nation and regional heads who've grown used to getting their way on product choices, says Warren Browne, a consultant who spent almost 40 years with General Motors, including several international assignments.
Batey also will want a cleareyed appraisal of as international vehicles which it will not be cut by Chevrolet products, Browne says. He says GM's choice to found the Camaro in Europe in 2011, and in Russia this year, is an illustration of compelling vehicles into markets which may not be open to them.
Akerson suggested last week he considers Batey's toughest job will probably be charting a course for significant growth for Chevrolet Europe and figuring out its relationship with Opel in relation to pricing, content and geography.
For decades, GM has stated that it would like to proceed Opel upmarket to contend against the likes of Volkswagen, so it could perform in Chevrolet as the mainstream brand.
It has been viewed as a budget brand, but recently it has been attempting to sell exotic offerings like the Corvette and also the Volt plug-in hybrid.
"It will take lots of investment in new product along with lots of coordination for Chevrolet to determine the way that it will coexist alongside Opel/Vauxhall," Marquardt says, "and to determine what it wants to be."
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