GM Poised Regaining The European Market With EVs

GM wishes to return to the European market after a 5-year absence

Sadrettin Akpınar

May 15, 2022 6:35 PM
Last Update: May 15, 2022 8:46 PM

Europe is the world’s second-largest EV market after China. EV sales volume now accounts for approximately 20% of the new car market, compared to only 5–6% in the US. GM used to have a presence in Europe for 90 years through its Opel and Vauxhall brands, but it battled to make a profit there. Evidently, it made a loss on its European operations for 16 consecutive years and sold both brands to Stellantis. Somehow it sells the odd Corvette or Cadillac there, but it has all but vanished from the Old Continent.

And yet, as the EV revolution gathers steam in the EU, General Motors CEO Mary Barra told a crowd this week, “Just around 5 years ago, we decided to sell our Opel business to what became Stellantis, so we have no seller’s remorse from an internal combustion business.” But we are considering the current opportunity for growth since we can re-enter Europe as an all-EV player. “I’m excited about that.”

The new Cadillac Lyriq and electric Corvette might be candidates for European sales

Mahmoud Samara has been appointed GM Europe’s managing director. Samara previously served as Cadillac’s North America head of sales and marketing, where he assisted in the brand’s transformation to an all-electric lineup. In Europe, his objective is to build a lucrative business “non-traditional mobility start-up” for EVs. He is also liable for autonomous vehicles, software, connectivity services, logistics, and defense.

It will not be easy for GM, which has no manufacturing foothold in Europe. To compete with local manufacturers like VW and Ford, GM must be ready to lose a lot of money on the way to sales and profits.

GM is aware of how to lose money with its European operations. The matter now is whether it knows how to make money there. The new owners of the Opel division began making money on the brand within a year of taking control, prompting some to question whether GM truly understands how to do business in Europe.

It still remains a mystery which electric cars GM will sell in Europe.


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