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What on Earth made GM think Europeans would buy something as outlandishly styled as Cadillac is a mystery.
True. Too bad not as obvious for GM.

PS. We'd take an SLS gladly. What, GM doesn't offer one? We got the BLS because Europeans "like small cars". Yeah, sure. Like the S-Klasse. GM, when a European has no better idea and wants a Cadillac, he/she wants it big, luxurious, comfy, classy and American, not a Saab in strange packaging. Yes, GM really doesn't understand global markets, but in different ways than it might seem.

Buicks will never in a million years sell in any numbers outside of China, North America, and maybe Taiwan or a few other Asian markets where they go for this sort of "soft luxury" theme.
Not true. If they looked like the Chinese Buick Park Avenue, they would easily outsell Cadillacs fewfold in Europe. The ParkAve takes after the A6, which is the gold standard now in the executive class. Make a smaller one, let it even be FWD (after all, what is an A6?) and you've got a lineup ready to kill. A premium compact wouldn't hurt either.

Pontiacs will never sell anywhere but the US and Canada.
Not true. Sports/performance brands ALWAYS sell - almost always, but anyway. If not for the unlikely MG rebirth, MG Rover would've gone belly up 5 years earlier. I believe Pontiac has a lot of potential globally, perhaps the most of all North American brands. I could expand on that forever - and I will, once anybody disagrees.

GMC is a N/A and Middle-East brand only.
With the current offering - perhaps. But if it was turned into a true truck/off-road/4x4 specialist brand, I would see bright future ahead of it globally. Ford (Thai) Ranger, Nissan Navara or the Mitsubishi L200 are gaining in popularity around Europe (the Isuzu Rodeo not so much, given that there are about 1.5 Isuzu dealers left Europewide), and I believe people would much more like the thought of owning a "genuine professional-grade GMC" than something that bears the same bowtie as the lowly Matiz/Spark.

The Malibu's a nice car. Only this size/price segment only exists in North America and Australia.
Pardon me? The large family car segment is the second/third largest segment in European countries (depending on country). Passats, Mondeos, Lagunas, 407s, Avenses and Honda Accords rule the roads around here. That said, Malibu being a nice car, it is easily outclassed by most of the European competition here. And its not only because they've got navigation. They've got rear armrests.

Hummer is far too in-your-face, brash, and thirsty to have appeal anywhere outside the Middle East.
Yet when you make a far-too-rich-teenager-cool-list, it comes up in the first place. It's a gimmicky brand with a worldwide gimmicky appeal. You need gazillions to own one and to fill it up, but it's not like gazillionaires only live in the Middle East. Just as if you'd say Smart or MINI have no appeal outside of Europe.

See problem with this thinking is the average American doesn't want to drive what the average Frenchmen or average Cambodian wants to drive.
Perhaps, but vehicles are not bought by statistical averages or other mediocrities ;) , but by actual people. French people would gladly drive huge American cruisers if they could afford the fuel and had the room to park them. Perhaps less people in the USA (relatively) buy small cars than in Europe, but they still want a decent small car. If crap sells better in the US, it is only because there is less choice.

Bottom line - everybody wants a good car, and GM better focus on making the best cars in all particular classes rather than developing a slew of midsize cars that essentially fulfill the same purpose and are all quite mediocre.

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17,551 Posts
Yes, but like you pointed out, the D-segment in Europe is moving to a sort of premium class of car. Family-value-oriented products like Camry, Altima, and Malibu are sort of misfits in Europe: too big to be mainstream, too cheaply finished and equipped to be premium products. Not that nobody would buy them, but a Malibu would face an almost Sisyphus-like battle against Mondeo-Passat-Laguna...
It would, not because of "class" differences - the Accord also makes the Malibu outclassed on arrival, not only because of size difference. The Camroid or Malibu are not "too big" anymore compared to e.g. the new Mondeo, which is HUGE. Also, let's not overdramatize - the base Mondeo, 407 or even Passat are rather bang-for-you-buck family cars, there might be a push to shed the repwagen image, but it's not like they've become BMWs overnight (BMWs, Audis etc have also moved along btw). If GM put some real effort in the Malibu, G6 or Aura, they could just as well do fine outside of NA. I believe we will be seeing convergence in the global midsize market.

I didn't include it because they are all rebadged Opels,
One Saturn is a rebadged Opel, and one Opel is a rebadged Saturn. That's it.

t-rex of a cglobal-sized pickup said:
True, but wouldn't these be just as well served by Chevrolet?
Nope, read my post above to see why. Just in case this isn't clear - owning a pickup is not only something you do out of necessity here (I guess about 3 people in Northern and Western Europe would own them then), but about a lifestyle statement. And Chevrolet is where it should be in Europe - offering a slightly more acceptable alternative to Hyundai and Kia, not trying to devour other division's markets.

So you think the Pontiac brand would be welcomed in Europe?
Much more than any other American GM brand perhaps. A sporty car from a brand with legendary, if unclear credentials? You bet! PS. SEAT went sidetracked, so this is not a good example, but I guess the Alfa Romeo as it used to be (affordable and acceptable for daily use) is a good example.

—Eastern Europe (poorer nations) & Russia; mostly small cheap cars
Russia's best-selling cars include the Toyota Camry and Ford Focus (C1, not the strange thing haunting children in the USA), lo and behold, manufactured locally.

Anyhoo, I'll start posting what I believe should go to which brand below, based on the notion that in every market, the relative sales of individual models would be different, up to the point when a model is not on offer in a given market:

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17,551 Posts

Small city car in the mold of Toyota Aygo, Renault Twingo and Fiat Panda - a bit of everything, affordable, simple, using as much old tech one can recycle but in a reasonable package, roomy enough to serve as a four/five-seat "faimly car" in markets such as India.

Alternative to Spark - a car like the Fiat 178 Palio project, and close to where Dacia is heading. Use old componentry, but build a large-enough car for a family and keep things simple to make affordable in developing countries but up-to-date enough to allow sales in developed ones.

Vega, Viva, Nova
Supermini triplets (5-door, sedan, wagon) to replace the Aveo. The Aveo is dreadful enough to can the name once it goes belly up.

Basically, the Vibe - a nicely packaged supermini-based minivan (based on the Vega, Viva, Nova), moved from Pontiac to where it belongs.

A decent affordable compact in a variety of bodystyles (sedan, hatch, wagon) in the mold of Kia Cee'd - good quality, astonishingly affordable, class-leading space (you can't do that with a 2600mm wheelbase, GM!)

Suburban reborn as HHR replacement, after GM finally decides to let go off the mobilehome market. Looks like the HHR, is a compact minivan with unique styling, hitting the sweet spot as the halo car that actually can sell in volume, just bears the name it should.

Midsize sedan and wagon big enough to rival both European and American competition, with focus on room and practicality rather than gimmicks and technology. More of a Mondeo than Passat or C5.

To be considered - a full-size FWD or RWD sedan for markets like North America and the Middle East. With the dwindling market for large cars and the push for premium, I am not sure if the market wouldn't be better served by Buick and Pontiac alone...

Supermini-based pickup, as-is mostly (see GM do Brasil)

Supermini-based LCV

A mid-sized LCV that can also double as a minivan in more passenger-oriented versions. Basically, a reenactment of the old Astro, but more like current Vivaro. Reliable business partner and an affordable people mover for larger families.

Global-sized pickup, possibly gravitating towards unibody

Small SUV, 5-door

Larger SUV, 5-door, with actual 7-seating capability

Halo car

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17,551 Posts
I sincerely hope this is a joke. The non-premium executive car market is long dead in Europe, in many ways replaced by the ever-growing large family cars. The Malibu has neither the refinement, technology, quality or looks to compete with the likes of even the Pug 607. If it at least had a rear armrest, we could talk Hyundai Sonata...

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17,551 Posts
Against midsizers - yes. Against executive cars - not so much. I don't see Audi A6 running away screaming seeing a Malibu...

Also, the Malibu nose, as posted, is a viable competitor. The hunchbacked, fatso silhouette with slab sides, and the strange rear end - not so much. And, as mentioned, the interior needs lotsa work... I am not saying the car is not good - it is, but it wouldn't do much more than the Epica currently can.

PS. If they sold the Malibu here, I'd buy one. But I don't think that many people would - remember the "Chevrolet Alero"?

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17,551 Posts
Another car I think GM should consider is a Chevrolet Express replacement. Do something like the Mercedes/Dodge Sprinter perhaps since gas will only go up.

Just a bit of Carlos Ghosn schmoozing is required... Renault not only owns the design, but also has been using the "Express" name to denote the delivery versions of their vans for some time...

A poor man's Audi A6 or BMW 5-Series
The Malibu is a poor man's Mondeo now, so still a lot of work to do :/ I believe the Malibu should be everyman's better choice than the Sonata, Magentis and perhaps Mondeo and Passat. Leave the BMW/Audi area to other brands.

The Epica is Epica everywhere in Europe except Iceland, where it's the Tosca.
Lucky Icelanders! Their Chevrolet marketing department has brains...

The Vega wasn't exported (thankfully) so GM could sell something called Vega globally with no bad image to overcome.
Actually, the Vega gets a worse rap than it deserves. And it certainly WAS exported, though nobody wanted it, like most American cars of that period, especially the non-luxury ones. It was still a very popular car in its time (in North America), and it got rather positive reviews (before reliability concerns surfaced, but then again which American car of that time was even remotely close to reliable and rustproof?), not to mention it was a good-looking car.

Chrysler revived the Aspen name (though not as a Dodge), despite the less-than-perfect reputation of the car (a looker too, all other things aside), so I think GM can now resurrect the Vega.
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