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Chevy Up, Vauxhall/Opel Continue Crash
GMInsideNews
May 11, 2012
By: Austin Rutherford


Ed. Note: This was written by our staff member from FordInsideNews.

You have heard the story: Opel is hurting due to lower sales and high fixed costs. Maybe what you have not heard is exactly what is weighting them down. Throughout the division, almost nothing is going right in development, sales, and costs.

Let us start with the bad news. Opel and Vauxhall saw their sales fall 16.2-% in the first quarter. This lead to a loss of 0.7 points of market share for the brand, but with Chevrolet taken into account the loss came to 0.4 points. This was tied for the second worst loss among major European automakers with Renault-Nissan. Perhaps the most troubling part of this sales depletion is where it came from.

Opel Corsa sales suffering 2% is not a worry. Where the worry comes into play is with two other vehicles suffering huge losses. If the first quarter, Astra sales crashed 17% as new trims did nothing to hold back the onslaught. The worst part of the Astra’s sales is that the vehicle is produced within four plants in the main European region. The Astra is also produced in Russia. Though the more basic levels are about to receive their first facelift, spy shots show this is a very minimal change that will probably do little to curve the spiral.

The other vehicle in the lineup facing a slide is the Insignia. The higher margin sedan and wagon saw a huge decrease in owners in the vicinity of 22%. The reason for this is mainly its age in the market. It is one of the oldest vehicles on the market in its class and competitors like the new Passat B7 has been grabbing market share in this class. Like the Astra, it is up for a facelift. Again, based on spy shots, this will probably not be enough to stop the bleeding.

Other problems are hard to understand. Why does the Antara still exist? This compact CUV, which we got as the Saturn Vue and now the Chevy Captiva Sport, sold less than 10,000 units for the main European market for all of 2011. One wonders why the Opel Mokka, aka Buick Encore, was designed after this when it has already been met with failure.

Another is the tie up with PSA. This Siamese twin had the worst fall in the last quarter with market share falling 1.4 points. Peugeot and Citroen have too much overhead, too many models in the same classes, and one of the oldest lineups in Europe. These problems are not just confined to Europe, but to the company globally. Even with the poke in the arm given by GM's cash infusion, it is likely that the company will go bankrupt in the next two years pending a miracle

Even with major headwinds in Europe, there are many vehicles seeing gains. The Chevy brand was up 6.5-% for the quarter with Cruze sales leading the charge thanks to added production in South American and continued success in China and North America. In fact, for the first time since GM emerged out of bankruptcy, and for a period before that, the Wuling Sunshine was not the best selling product in a quarter for the company. In the first quarter, the Chevy Cruze has finally taken this title.

GM will be launching many new models in coming year that should push sales higher. Opel will launch the Adam, the first name of its founder, while GMNA will bring out the all-new GMT SUVs and trucks. Cadillac will start production of the long awaited ATS and XTS. In South America, the new Cobalt will expand availability outside Brazil and the all-new Chevy Spin, a compact MPV, will launch. GM-SIAC will also start local production of many models in China and start building models in India.

Below is a breakdown of GM’s best selling vehicles for the first quarter. If one has any market’s sales that are not included, please post them with a link. Big thanks to Matt of Best Selling Cars for adding markets to the list.

Markets included in the first quarter were Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, New Caledonia, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

Model Breakdown

  1. Chevy Cruze - 180,000*
  2. Wuling Sunshine - 152,666
  3. Chevy Silverado/ Cheyenne - 106,250
  4. Wuling Rongguang/ Xingwang - 104,183
  5. Chevy Aveo/ Sonic - 87,874
  6. V/O Astra H,J - 81,636
  7. V/O Corsa - 77,847
  8. Buick Excelle - 76,378
  9. Chevy Spark I,II/ Beat/ Matiz - 75,439
  10. Chevy Malibu - 70,955
  11. Wuling Hongguang - 69,445
  12. Chevy Sail - 65,252
  13. Chevy Equinox - 56,360
  14. Chevy Impala - 52,525
  15. GMC Sierra - 46,103
  16. Chevy Celta/ Prisma - 45,251
  17. Chevy Corsa I,II - 44,932
  18. Buick Excelle GT/ Verano - 40,365
  19. Buick LaCrosse - 38,032
  20. Chevy Avalanche/ Tahoe/ Suburban - 35,186
  21. Chevy S10/ Colorado/ D-Max/ T-Series - 32,473
  22. Wuling PN Series - 28,772
  23. Buick Regal - 27,582
  24. V/O Insignia - 26,676
  25. GMC Terrain - 25,080
  26. Chevy Camaro - 23,491
  27. Chevy Traverse - 23,009
  28. Chevy Captiva(Both) - 22,682
  29. Baojun 630 - 22,035
  30. V/O Zafira - 21,782
  31. Chevy Agile - 21,231
  32. V/O Meriva - 20,362
  33. Cadillac SRX - 19,935
  34. GMC Acadia - 18,426
  35. Chevy Tornado/ Montana/ Corsa Utility - 17,621
  36. Chevy Express - 16,734
  37. Chevy Cobalt - 15,636
  38. GMC Yukon - 14,206
  39. Chevy Niva - 14,190
  40. Cadillac CTS - 13,090
  41. Buick Enclave - 12,342
  42. Chevy Orlando - 11,978
  43. Buick Excelle XT - 11,256
  44. Holden Commodore - 10,699
  45. Buick GL8 II - 8,887
  46. Holden Cruze - 8,863
  47. Daewoo Nexia - 8,721
  48. Chevy Lacetti/ Nubira/ Optra - 7,550
  49. V/O Agila - 6,896
  50. Daewoo Matiz - 6,173
  51. GMC Savana - 6,050
  52. Buick GL8 I - 6,048
  53. Chevy Epica - 5,988
  54. Cadillac Escalade - 5,809
  55. Chevy Tavera - 5,783
  56. Chevy Meriva - 5,693
  57. Holden Captiva(Both) - 4,903
  58. Chevy Volt - 4,080
  59. V/O Vivaro - 3,891
  60. GMC Canyon - 3,601
  61. Chevy Barina - 3,555
  62. Chevy Corvette - 3,039
  63. V/O Combo - 2,761
  64. V/O Antara - 2,595
  65. Daewoo Alpheon - 2,017
  66. Chevy Lanos - 1,910
  67. V/O Ampera - 1,835
  68. Holden Colorado - 1,643
  69. Cadillac SLS - 1,563
  70. Daewoo Damas - 1,556
  71. Chevy Caprice - 1,396
  72. Chevy Zafira - 1,322
  73. Buick Lucerne - 1,217
  74. V/O Movano - 1,020
  75. Chevy N Trucks(Old) - 930
  76. Chevy N(New), F Trucks/ CYZ/ RVF/ EXZ - 827
  77. Daewoo Labo - 557
  78. Chevy Astra - 546
  79. Holden Barina Spark - 519
  80. Holden Caprice - 488
  81. Chevy Blazer - 459
  82. Chevy Lumina/ Omega - 290
  83. Daewoo Lacetti - 286
  84. Chevy Vectra - 254
  85. Cadillac DTS - 239
  86. Buick Park Avenue - 149
  87. Chevy N300 - 135
  88. Chevy HHR - 113
  89. Holden Combo - 96
  90. Chevy N,F,L-Series Bus - 92
  91. Cadillac STS - 88
  92. Jiefang Xiao/ CA 1031 - 22
  93. Holden Epica - 13
  94. Cadillac BLS - 2
  95. Chevy TrailBlazer - 2
  96. Chevy CMV/ Super Carry - 1
  97. Chevy Kodiak 6/7/8 - 1
  98. Opel GT - 1

Chevy Nexia - Unknown
Chevy Vitara - Unknown
Chevy Grand Vitara - Unknown
Chevy CMP - Unknown
Chevy LV150 - Unknown
Chevy N200 - Unknown
Chevy Combo - Unknown
Jiefang Kucheng - Unknown
Jiefang 501 - Unknown
Jiefang Jinling/ Boling - Unknown
Jiefang Furui - Unknown

* - Total Sales Provided by GM

*Models that have ended production are in BOLD*

Sales by Category

Cars
City/Kei - 89,027
Sub-Compact - 356,573
Compact - 448,887
Mid-Size - 157,394
Full-Size - 108,703

Utility Vehicles including MPVs
City/Kei - 1,556
Sub-Compact - 40,245
Compact - 71,617
Mid-Size - 101,377
Full-Size - 111,571

Trucks & Ute Vans
City/Kei - 29,330
Sub-Compact - 170,287
Compact - 176,620
Mid-Size - 41,608
Full-Size - 176,157
Cab-Over - 1,779
Bus - 92

Specialty
Muscle Car - 23,491
1 Row Front Engine Sport Car - 3,040
 

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What exactly is going on with Opel?
Nothing really, but GM wants us to focus on it rather than their rather so-so results in North America, several missteps in Asia and eroding market share in Australia and few other key markets.
 

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Back to regular programming - this shows how unnecessairly fragmented GM's sales are. The Regal, Insignia, LaCrosse, Malibu and Impala could all be combined into one or two vehicles with sales of 215K units in total, or 100K each (if there were two). Same for Captiva, Terrain, Equinox and Antara.

OTOH, the ranking doesn't show that the combined Astra H, J, Buick Excelle GT/XT and Verano are GM's third best-selling vehicle, selling 2/3ds of what the Cruze does.

Having said which, it's not the production volumes that is worrying, it's the eroding margins. GM doesn't seem to be able to market the cars well enough. And that's their problem, especially in Europe.
 

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Can GM just reduce their stake in Opel and sell it to some one who is willing to buy. The government would rather see Opel die before it allows GM to profit with an assisted restructure. I might be wrong.
 

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N/A still need Cruze variants, Lordstown has plenty of capacity.
Still think a Cruze wagon would sell decent in the US.
 

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Back to regular programming - this shows how unnecessairly fragmented GM's sales are. The Regal, Insignia, LaCrosse, Malibu and Impala could all be combined into one or two vehicles with sales of 215K units in total, or 100K each (if there were two). Same for Captiva, Terrain, Equinox and Antara.

OTOH, the ranking doesn't show that the combined Astra H, J, Buick Excelle GT/XT and Verano are GM's third best-selling vehicle, selling 2/3ds of what the Cruze does.

Having said which, it's not the production volumes that is worrying, it's the eroding margins. GM doesn't seem to be able to market the cars well enough. And that's their problem, especially in Europe.
malibu is not the regal; captiva and terrain and equinox are not the same vehicle
 

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Can GM just reduce their stake in Opel and sell it to some one who is willing to buy. The government would rather see Opel die before it allows GM to profit with an assisted restructure. I might be wrong.
this would effectively wipe out GM from Europe, it would be a very stupid move.. worse that Ford's sale of Landrover and Jaguar
 

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Nothing really, but GM wants us to focus on it rather than their rather so-so results in North America, several missteps in Asia and eroding market share in Australia and few other key markets.
... Did you read the article here? You can't just keep screaming "CONSPIRACY!" when your sales fell by the second worst margin in Europe and your bread and butter models are suffering.
 

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No. What they need to do is refresh their main European lineup so that it is at least competitive. Increasing margins at Opel would help as well, maybe increasing Chevy sales in Europe can move Opel up a little bit so that GM can get the better profit margins. JMO.
 

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V/O Astra H,J - 81,636
V/O Corsa - 77,847
Buick Excelle - 76,378
Chevy Corsa I,II - 44,932
Buick Excelle GT/ Verano - 40,365
Buick Regal - 27,582
V/O Insignia - 26,676
V/O Zafira - 21,782
V/O Meriva - 20,362
Buick Excelle XT - 11,256
V/O Agila - 6,896
Chevy Meriva - 5,693
V/O Vivaro - 3,891
V/O Combo - 2,761
V/O Antara - 2,595
V/O Ampera - 1,835
Chevy Zafira - 1,322
V/O Movano - 1,020
Chevy Astra - 546
Chevy Vectra - 254
Opel GT - 1

Normally this should all be cars under the Opel brand, but GM decided to sold it as Buicks and Chevys in China, NA & SA !!!
Opel can't be profitable without benefit from this sales !!!
 

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nsap, first thanks for the data!

Obviously a lot of work to get it all put together so well.

Looking over it suggests compacts and smaller make up roughly
85% of cars
34% of utility vehicles
67% of trucks & UTE vans

And performance machines in all categories seem to have moved toward the margins.

Obviously this is only one data point ... not establishing a trend!

However, some of your comments, say like the weakening of Astra and Insignia lead me to wonder if "best of breed" fuel economies for each specific class may be at play.

Also, I wonder if tight economies in the EU, US, and the rest of the world are forcing consumers to do a more in depth reassessment of GM's product "value and utility" versus their competition in each market and segment.

Could it be the markets are slowly shifting from "what I want" to a "what I NEED" mode?
 

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What exactly is going on with Opel?

I might be really off base here but i think perhaps maybe i'm not far off

Opel/Vauxhall has a reputation as an affordable brand and GM's pushing them upmarket which is resulting in lost sales

no supprise that their cheapest entry level car is still selling ok which the Astra and Insignia are not

These cars have been improved markedly over predecesors with the Vectra having a reputation in the UK as a Fleet Queen rep mobile

They are chasing down VW market leaders in quality perception in Europe and while the car are improved you cant really buy that reputation and try and charge more at the same time

But again thats just my opinion as an outsider looking in
 

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Back to regular programming - this shows how unnecessairly fragmented GM's sales are. The Regal, Insignia, LaCrosse, Malibu and Impala could all be combined into one or two vehicles with sales of 215K units in total, or 100K each (if there were two). Same for Captiva, Terrain, Equinox and Antara.
People like choices ... the last they they need is one plain jane car built to suit everyones taste ... its been proven before that one car cant handle everyones desires.
 

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I might be really off base here but i think perhaps maybe i'm not far off

Opel/Vauxhall has a reputation as an affordable brand and GM's pushing them upmarket which is resulting in lost sales

no supprise that their cheapest entry level car is still selling ok which the Astra and Insignia are not

These cars have been improved markedly over predecesors with the Vectra having a reputation in the UK as a Fleet Queen rep mobile

They are chasing down VW market leaders in quality perception in Europe and while the car are improved you cant really buy that reputation and try and charge more at the same time

But again thats just my opinion as an outsider looking in
That definitely seems like an aspect of what's going on, but I don't know that it's THE biggest deal.

I've got to believe that all the bad news the Opel brand has been faced with since the GM bankruptcy, the saga of the aborted sale, and now GM "restructuring" is weighing in the mind of potential customers.

Then, keep in mind that while you and I may think the Insignia is a great car, judged by the metrics that Europeans use... it really doesn't stand out all that well.
 
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