Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sibling rivalry: every family faces it, at one point or another. And what are automotive groups such as General Motors if not one, big (and bailout-happy) family? Platform and parts sharing is the name of the game in order to reduce costs and maximize profit margins. But what happens when two brands, like Opel and Chevrolet start to overlap each other?

Having introduced five new cars in the past 18 months and on the verge of launching a major TV, print and digital campaign this summer to celebrate its centennial anniversary, Chevrolet is trying to become more premium.
However, as it becomes more attractive, while also retaining its value for money position, it starts to tiptoe on Opel's shoes. And that, according to Opel’s CEO Nick Reilly, is a problem they need to work out.
Reilly suggests that, even though research shows only 1.5% of Opel buyers would consider a Chevy, Opel still needs to move more upmarket in order to differentiate itself
“Undoubtedly Chevrolet will move up the pecking order with the quality of new products that have been launched and which are planned for launch,” Reilly told British magazine Autocar. “Therefore it’s logical that we’d like to see the Opel/Vauxhall product range and company image move up accordingly to keep them separated.”
Wayne Brannon, President of Chevrolet Europe, thinks that what sets his brand apart is its American identity: "If you ask 100 Europeans what they know about Chevrolet, research shows that 85 of them think of 'Chevy' as a brand with American roots and values. No other volume brand in this marketplace can say that".
Reilly agrees stating, “Chevrolet is an American brand with its own reputation and a goal of always being priced below the mainstream. In contrast, Opel and Vauxhall are very European brands. Cars such as the Meriva and Ampera show that we can lead in areas of technology in a way that Chevrolet won’t”.
Right. Like Chevrolet would ever have the technology to develop and build something called the Volt, start selling it in the US and then let Opel rebadge it as the Ampera for Europe…


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