General Motors has announced plans to “change its business model” in Russia, which is a gentle way of calling it quits for the third time in a few years time. In 2013, GM withdrew Opel from the Australian market after less then one year of trying. A few months later, Chevrolet was announced to quit the European car market (excluding Russia) in order to give Opel a shot at returning to profitability. And in a final attempt to stop the bleeding of cash at its European operations, both brands will say “пока-пока” to the Russian market.
Opel Group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann said, “We do not have the appropriate localization level for important vehicles built in Russia and the market environment does not justify a major investment to further localize.” With which they mean they’ve completely misjudged the market and failed to offer a competitive, locally built subcompact sedan to defend itself against the surging Hyundai Solaris (a.k.a. Accent outside of Russia), Kia Rio and Renault Logan.
Opel will leave the market by the end of this year and Chevrolet will be minimized to “iconic” vehicles like the Corvette, Camaro and Tahoe. Oh, and of course Cadillac will stay in Russia, in a desperate attempt not to lose its self-proclaimed “Global luxury brand” title. Mind you, this is a market where GM sold a combined 288.308 vehicles in 2012 (that’s only three years ago), of which more than 200.000 Chevrolet, 80.000 Opel, and……. 2.024 Cadillac cars and SUVs. [Read more…]