The Opel and Vauxhall brands no longer have to compete for low-cost sales.
Chevrolet’s first-quarter sales surged 33.6 percent to more than 57,000 units compared with the same period last year in greater Europe, which includes Russia and Turkey.
Forster said first-quarter sales were slightly lower in western and central Europe – down 0.2 percent to 35,632 units – because of a slump in sales in Spain, Europe’s fifth-largest market, in January and February.
He said sales in Spain picked up in March and April and he is confident that Chevrolet’s volume this year will match Daewoo’s 2004 sales.
Forster said an additional benefit of the name change has been that the Opel/Vauxhall brands are able to charge a “considerable premium” over Chevrolet vehicles. He declined to be more specific.
“We are relieved to have Chevrolet so Opel doesn’t have to go for low-cost,” said Forster.
Opel’s sales in western and central Europe were up 1.1 percent to 352,899 units in the first quarter compared with the same period in 2004.
GM Europe switched the Daewoo name to Chevrolet to help overcome negative perceptions of the Daewoo brand in Europe.
GM Daewoo has had to fight to regain consumer confidence that was lost when Daewoo Motor Co. went bankrupt following the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s. Daewoo’s sales in Europe fell 53 percent from 2000 to 2002 to 94,734 units.
GM bought most of Daewoo’s assets in 2001.