The following is a counterfactual version of a news-story published recently at Automotive News. Chery plans to tackle the European market, they say. They are moving in as General Motors abandoned the market entirely as it was all simply too much trouble for them.
To understand the weirdness of GM’s decision, try reading the ANE story with “GM” in place of Chery. Here is how it now reads:
“Detroit, MI – American automaker General Motors (GM) has selected Germany to be the base of its coming move into Europe. GM says it is America’s largest car exporter. The company is determined to compete on the same level as the world’s major automakers as soon as possible, the company declared.
“If GM is to become a global brand, we need to go to Europe,” said GM Chairman, Dan Dexter-Dinsdale.
Starting in January, the new limited-liability subsidiary GM Europe GmbH will begin operations in a development and design center in Russelsheim, a town not far from Mainz, one-time home of Johann Gutenberg. Its main task will be preparing the launch of models for the European market to be sold under the “Opel” brand starting after 2020.
GM said its models will be competitive with those offered by the leading European automakers in terms of quality, design and technology.
The Russelsheim center will focus mainly on design, development, marketing and sales. In the initial phase, GM Europe aims to employ roughly 30 to 50 employees by the end of next year in research and development.
GM introduced its first offering for European markets the Excelle saloon, at the Frankfurt auto show in September last year.
“We presented ourselves as a brand at the IAA a year ago. Now we will execute on our plans for Europe,” Dexter-Dinsdale said.
GM is not the first American automaker to go to Germany. Ford has been an established player since the 1990s, selling vehicles under the Mercury brand in southern and eastern Europe. Chrysler has no plans to attempt to sell in Europe for the forseeable future.”
You can read the original Automotive News story yourself. It makes clear that Chery thinks being in the European market is worth doing. And why not? For me the most revealing sentence was the wish to compete on the same level as existing companies. By its actions, GM declared it could not compete at all, being unable to do what Chery is about to do.
Who would have thought a decade ago GM would abandon the EU? Who now thinks it impossible Ford could do the same? We, do after all, live in the age of the unthinkable happening.