Europe's compact-SUV boom has been a washout for General Motors; the Opel Antara and Chevrolet Captiva are selling far slower than their rivals.
Take Germany, for example. In 2007, the Antara's first full year on the market, registrations totaled 7,051, compared with 16,179 for the segment-leading Toyota RAV4.
Even automakers with fewer dealers and much lower overall market shares attracted more customers. Suzuki sold 7,249 Grand Vitaras in Germany last year, and Honda sold 9,789 CR-Vs.
In all of Europe, GM sold 29,235 Captivas and 23,879 Antaras in 2007, according to JATO Dynamics. By comparison, Honda sold 68,562 CR-Vs, and RAV4 sales totaled 90,329.
“The Antara lags behind our expectations,” said Jonathan Browning, GM Europe's vice president for global sales, service and marketing.
No improvement is in sight, at least in Germany. In the first quarter, Antara registrations totaled just 1,609, compared with 6,502 for the Volkswagen Tiguan.
Major model updates are not planned any time soon.
“The vehicle just came on the market at the end of 2006,” an Opel source said. “A face-lift typically comes after 21/2 years.”