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Why General Motors Left Europe

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In 2017, General Motors, the largest U.S. automaker, with brands like Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Buick made one of its boldest moves in its history. It sold its European Opel and Vauxhall brand to the French automaker PSA, known for brands such as Peugeot and Citroen. It was the end of an era for GM, which had first ventured into Europe nearly 90 years before. GM left Europe after 20 years of losses, but why did the largest U.S. automaker leave such a big market? Did it simply fail? » Subscribe to CNBC: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBC » Subscribe to CNBC TV: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCtelevision » Subscribe to CNBC Classic: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCclassic About CNBC: From 'Wall Street' to 'Main Street' to award winning original documentaries and Reality TV series, CNBC has you covered. Experience special sneak peeks of your favorite shows, exclusive video and more. Connect with CNBC News Online Get the latest news: https://www.cnbc.com/ Follow CNBC on LinkedIn: https://cnb.cx/LinkedInCNBC Follow CNBC News on Facebook: https://cnb.cx/LikeCNBC Follow CNBC News on Twitter: https://cnb.cx/FollowCNBC Follow CNBC News on Instagram: https://cnb.cx/InstagramCNBC #CNBC #GM #GeneralMotors Why General Motors Left Europe
Category: News & Politics
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Text Comments (4116)
CNBC (4 months ago)
Why do you think GM failed in Europe?
Tural Musaibov (2 days ago)
Poor quality after 1999.
James Thunder (2 days ago)
@GamingTV ❤️🦉👍👍🤠
Dennis Snider (5 days ago)
They couldn’t sell sliverados to the Europeans that’s why 😂
Rome Salas (10 days ago)
@QuantumRift Thank you!!, finally someone who sees the same crap I see!!!!!
zilch94 (16 days ago)
Short answer: GM lost its way.
e gorsk (15 hours ago)
thank god, GM products and management are garbage
Lon Brooklyn (1 day ago)
I love high emmissions standards regulations because I dont like toxic smoke!
Showsky (1 day ago)
Don't try to sell a worse car for the same price as the better cars. Europe have way more competition then the US. Ford knew how to do it, the ford focus have been huge for 15 years. Don't blame regulation.
Enlightened Idiot (1 day ago)
GM quality is in the toilet...
Merv Stent (1 day ago)
Because GM are going down the 🚽
noHweI/NoWay (1 day ago)
looks like they still own Holden in AU
Hardocore (1 day ago)
Ford Cars that sell well in Europe are mostly European made and designed
Srdjan Smudja (2 days ago)
Europe makes better cars imo
George Papadopoulos (2 days ago)
How about telling the truth and addressing the elephant in the room? That is the horrifically awful reliability that Euro GM cars boasted for years.
Max (2 days ago)
Just one year after being bought by PSA, Opel achieved an operating income of 859 € million, the first positive income since 20 years... GM governance was just a big joke... Saab still remembers it.
Robert Johnson (2 days ago)
Because they build junk
Paulo Rogerio Guerreiro dos Santos (3 days ago)
GM number 1 in Brazil
Toreshammere Celt (3 days ago)
What GM should unload is Mary Barra.
Shawn Sitaras (3 days ago)
GM builds junk cars. That's why they're not selling in Europe Europeans are used to a certain standard when it comes to automobiles GM does not hold that standard recall after recall defect after defect on older models we'll see how the new Corvette fairs in 10 years I have a 2007 BMW Alpina B7 still runs like a top and it's more than 10 years old only had to put Tires and Brakes on it when I got it try doing that to a Chevy S10 or a Chevy Cavalier
JOHN RAU (4 days ago)
They make crap every where
rich s (4 days ago)
All of Europe is unionize even Walmart
baterie srl (4 days ago)
remember 1990??? ford allmost gone bust becouse of europe
Kin Chung Cheuk (5 days ago)
Biggy in nyse the tech sector. Tradewar apple loss 1/3 in China Cisco no 5G tech so only us turf Amaz look fishy HP Dell extinction social media face gop filing. Oracle msc just hanging all free fall
Sukhdeep Singh (7 days ago)
My Question - Why GM failed in India?
Dillon Vossen (7 days ago)
miffedmax (8 days ago)
Blah, blah, blah. The lede is buried at the end: PSA restored Opel to profitability in a year by building decent cars. GM is a light truck company.
Buff Barnaby (9 days ago)
Kilmer says don't buy GM...thats why !
Pvt. Pepe (9 days ago)
Because no one wants to buy pieces of unreliable crap. That is why and it is a shame.
Uncle Ben (9 days ago)
they were gettin thier but kicked!!
Boy Dog (9 days ago)
When people are used to eating prime rib, don't try to serve them a candy coated turd, they aren't going to eat it.now Americans ha they like candy coated turds .they Believe tv commercials. And have been brainwashed for years
jessie livermore (10 days ago)
just the fact gm left europe the biggest car market in the world, tells me they wil go bankrupt again and the american public will bail out them again, it would be a blessing if vw bought gm as a minor brand.
smoove macadamon (10 days ago)
GM sedans are ugly. Interior and exterior. However Their trucks are really good.
Pablo Olmedo Jr (10 days ago)
If quality exceeds price people will buy.
Royal Artillery (10 days ago)
Simple: the high wages of GM employees, unions, and stringent labor regulations. significantly increase their cost of production, making their automobiles more expensive than its competitors
Kiinell (10 days ago)
What's that guy smoking saying the UK doesn't buy Ford cars? Ford has been the most dominant car manufacturer in the UK for decades.
mrjsanchez1 (12 days ago)
Yet, FCA'S American designed and styled Jeeps and Rams are doing well in Europe.
Nicholas Kingman (12 days ago)
I want pontiac
James Berchman (12 days ago)
I own a GMC Vauxhall, under powered, not the most fuel efficient & there is always the worry that something will go wrong
TheRsod 1997 (12 days ago)
R.I.P. Pontiac😢
Anirudh Mallikarjun (15 days ago)
I guess GM's brands with cats in there logo are dying quickly
Lake 42 (15 days ago)
Stop selling crap cars in Europe America. They might buy them otherwise lmao... I’m American but love German cars
BRUCE JEANDUC (16 days ago)
I've owned European cars. Won't buy another one. I've owned American cars, i might buy one.
granskare (18 days ago)
gm made the ev1 which they leased, people loved it. now gm uses the same car to make an electric in China. They could have been the leader on electrics. They are strange. All of our small pickups are now sold in Europe.
Arnold Tabor (18 days ago)
All I'm going to say is ,I'd have bought the Chevy Cruze hatchback. We in europe ,buy hatchbacks and crossovers mainly not saloons and pick ups
Stephen Marcus (19 days ago)
GM was one a European powerhouse but years off poor quality and lackluster design allowed premium brands plus VW, Skoda and even Dacia to erode market share. Opel was pushed premium once Chevrolet arrived which was even more troublesome. GM was unable to articulate what Opel stood for, lacked appropriate product mix, and failed to cut costs/utilize factories like PSA has. PSA has only brought Corsa to market since acquiring Opel. Factory utilization, whether this means renting out space or four day work weeks, but has made a big difference. Also, the PSA sourced CUVs, had only hit the market, and would have erased losses for the next fiscal year. Lastly cutting former GME engineers from the payroll plus GM paying direct royalty payments to PSA instead of Maryland, has helped. The PSA turn around isn't exactly a mystery. Nonetheless it is a very damaged brand in an era of economic nationalism gripping Europe sans the UK and Ireland.
Uncle Ben (20 days ago)
quality is the reason!!
Leviathan (20 days ago)
yea, blame the unions.... (3:38)
Renga Natha (21 days ago)
Gm went of india 🇮🇳,
JDN Rotterdam (22 days ago)
It was allways funny that opel loud we are a german car brand with real german cars! On tv commercials in the netherlands. But if you start the internet you can see the same cars in america under the name Saturn. ( as a real american car) and in the UK under the name Vauxal as a real UK car. People knew and if they want a real german they take a vw same class same price. Now opel is france.
Jamed Foley (24 days ago)
Wasn’t a “bold” decision, it was a lousy decision.
Patrick Treichel (25 days ago)
It was just because they built crappy cars. For example, the astra, a former successful hatchback/wagon-car, was about 400 lbs heavier than similar competitor cars. The reason for this was that it was built onto a GM platform, that was designed to fit many different needs. Those needes were so wide spread and different, that this platform couldn't meet any requirements by 100%. With that weight-penalty, the car's fuelconsumption was unnecessary high and the dynamic abilities were quite poor. Today's Opel and Vauxhall (the last under GM) cars have a quite good reliability, but still suffer from the bad reliability-reputation they earned in the 90s and 2000s. So even if u buy an Opel here in Germany, u hear questions like "couldn't u afford a real car..." Opel's bad reputation results in a very huge value loss of used car's, compared to similar competitors.
Marc Pagan (29 days ago)
Sad to see GM quality slide into the toilet over the past 40 years. I knew GM was toast in 1990, when my "buy American" father ...after breakdowns of Cadillacs, Olds, and more... .....finally bought a Honda for my mother>>>>He's bought or leased Honda and Toyota since... Ah..Obamacare "Cadillac" plan's connotation to me and millions of others? ....must be a low tier or garbage plan, as it's named Cadillac.
Michael Cawood (29 days ago)
It's shameful the way GM pulled out of Europe. The especially stinks when you think that Ford is doing well in Europe.
Bruce Fredrickson (29 days ago)
GM was smart to get out.
Stephanie Booth (1 month ago)
Jim Nesta (1 month ago)
How can GM do well in a foreign market when it can't even figure out how to prosper in its own domestic US market?
LauraNY (1 month ago)
GM cars very poor quality in general !!! Not only GM but every car brand sucks !!! Only Toyota decent and Ford pickup trucks ! Only choices we have now 🙉🙈😣
adamshiftyelso (1 month ago)
Seeing 5:47 weirded me out a little bit since it’s 2 minutes walk from where I live. It might seem like a generic junction but having passed it thousands of times I recognised it immediately. Anyway, I’ve always found Vauxhall to have really really boring cars. Japanese and Korean cars whilst boring tend to be cheaper and more reliable, so what was the point in Vauxhall? Since the PSA takeover however their cars have become more interesting and keeping up with the trends.
Isti Bodoni (1 month ago)
SAAB!? :(
Vermillion (1 month ago)
They completely ruined Opel's reputation with their awful quality
Philip Leonardo (1 month ago)
GM will fail bad products and management.It lack innovation and only think for profits..they will fail
E. L. (1 month ago)
And then Opel and Vauxhall made money the first quarter they were under PSA group.
Mike Kind (1 month ago)
I think GM's biggest problem is that they are more focused on saving money and increasing profits than they are on making high quality and stylish vehicles. When you buy a brand new 100k Escalade, you expect the best quality, but people have been reporting that there are squeaks and rattles when they drive over bumps. On top of that, the cheap interior and the low quality plastics that GM uses, also don't help the brand much in Europe.
RP Bangalore (1 month ago)
Too much of music and noise bit irritating
Lithuanian European Dhalt (1 month ago)
We European would love to buy American cars but to get the parts of cars its harder to get and more expensive that`s why we don`t buy your cars and second thing is we love to buy used old car models. In me country most often you will see good old models like 1998-2005 BMW 7 Series models, 1998-2005 Mercedes, Volkswagen Golf😍 once at 2006-2008 we saw Fords but these cars get rust relay fast is a trash car and other new models that`s coming out each year are plastic trash cars.
Souhaj (1 month ago)
Before leaving Europe they destroyed SAAB the Swedish brand !!!!
Coco Taveras (1 month ago)
Saab wasnt bad actually, so I kind of miss it :(
granskare (1 month ago)
gm leased their ev1 which all liked but they could have had a headstart in electric vehicles but they had no one who looked ahead. They the took the same car to China to make a electric there. Weird.
john mightymole (1 month ago)
Apology for failing autó maker. Cars not good enough.
Nowel Aquir (1 month ago)
They asked for a hand out from the Europeans and did not get it. GM was of the impression that if Obama kissed their rear end others will do the same. losers go dump your crap somewhere else.
Alex M (1 month ago)
Also don’t forget American cars are absolutely garbage. That wasn’t mentioned in the video and that’s entirely the case. Europeans don’t always go for cheap plastic base model cars with no interesting features that Americans like.
Stefan Xhunga (1 month ago)
I think is one Europian Technology
xixraymondxix (1 month ago)
Over in Europe you can get a Mercedes for the same price of a Ford, I don't know about any one else who might read this but If I had to choose I'd choose the Mercedes.
xixraymondxix (1 month ago)
@NUT Corporation even the ones that are produced over there are expensive, Ford's are simply over priced. Mercedes offers models to there domestic models that are designed specifically for commuting and for people who just need a vehicle to get around that isn't as expensive as there luxary vehicles. Ford and other American manufacturers are putting themselves out of business because they are selling cheaply made crappy vehicles for a substantial amount because they are greedy.
NUT Corporation (1 month ago)
xixraymondxix the reason is imports and taxes, along with other costs which therefore the prices go up for the North Americans which is also the other way around
Luke (1 month ago)
pergeot not poogeot
A_flying_dutchman [NL] (1 month ago)
Good, keep your junk away from us XD
IL GWENT (1 month ago)
It's better in this way. We buy only euro & japanese, not american crap.
Break1146 (1 month ago)
Sigh... Selling trucks and SUVs in Europe? That would save the situation? Oh man... I'm driving a supermini, a Fiat Punto MK2 Facelift to be exact and let me explain to you why and you'll understand why Europeans buy the cars they do. First of all, I'm not gonna talk about fuel, we know. But for me having a sedan might be the difference of paying €40 every quarter on road tax (what I do now) or €150 a quarter. Diesels cost more but are desirable for people doing long distances as it's way cheaper per liter. Maneuverability, really, I am not able to drive any SUV or even larger sedans comfortably through old city centers and parking is a goddamn nightmare. They just literally don't fit in parking spaces. Toyota Aygo is everywhere here, just like the C1 and the 107 of course which are basically all the same car. Simple, small, cheap to operate and reliable. Make them small and reliable at a reasonable price and your car will sell here. As an European I like all the German brands obviously, VW Polo is and has been the most sold car for ages now in the Netherlands, Peugeot as they make decent cars and they're actually really comfortable to sit in and drive, Volvo obviously, Fiat for it's superminis and style and hell they're cheap for a lot of car and to reliability, have you ever seen a 500 or a Panda break down (there are a few spots that raise some questions yes but they've been doing quite wel for themselves okay)? Cause I haven't. They have all different merits and they fit in to what people want and need. Be quality wise definitely not GM or Renault and you'll be fine lol.
Bryce (1 month ago)
Yet there is a waiting list in Europe to buy Tesla's
Fabian flores (1 month ago)
GM always fails everywhere. THe only reason why the company is still around is because US the tax payers. They value short-term profits over long term and quality products. Their CEO's are overpaid.
albert krauss (1 month ago)
caca cars=GM
Nodak81 (1 month ago)
They left because they make crap. They sell like hot cakes in China because nobody knows crap like the Chinese. They probably stole some trade secrets from GM so they could make Chinese cars even crappier.
1957khartung (1 month ago)
Because they don't want a piece of schitt to drive. Cadillac production in China? GM is on it's way to oblivion.
Bill Smale (1 month ago)
GM bought European companies to "enter Europe". Domestic US production was never focused on exports. When GM and Ford sold overseas companies they were out of those countries. So, the management of GM and Ford were never thinking beyond the US. Can't expect their inbred management to change now.
Narcésio Teixeira (1 month ago)
paul mitchell (1 month ago)
Poor emissions record? Byeeeee!
rahul paul chowdhury (1 month ago)
They left India too and I am stuck with one not being able to sale as resale value has gone super low
Glenn Oropeza (2 months ago)
I can start by saying that the Chevrolets sold in Europe (except for the Corvette) weren't real Chevrolets! They were Korean made weenie mobiles or rebadged Daewoo cars! These cars hurt the reputation for not only Chevrolet but all of the American brand cars! What GM should have done is copy Ford's expertise in selling cars in Europe! Ford has so much experience because they were in Europe after World War 2!
Chivariak Khus (2 months ago)
GM was smart. Europe will lead the way with renewable energy, which is still in development. Having an enormous infrastructure based on carbon burning vehicles will only become a greater risk with less and less potential for growth. So sell it off, retrench, and invest in renewable energy driven by profits from North America and other profitable areas.
Pat Mason Mason (2 months ago)
No one wants to drive them like the USA.
Mike Zerker (2 months ago)
The real reason is because GM makes unreliable vehicles... Time and again we see low reliability ratings from CR, and others. They will continue to do poorly in any market until they improve that metric!
Nigel Dowdell (2 months ago)
US cars are not popular.
Ato Nympha (1 month ago)
America has a very high quality racism NOT high quality cars.
Ato Nympha (1 month ago)
@Patriot well it started from somewhere. .. but still yankee cars is a flop from day one but Racism has never been a flop. What a SHAME!!
Patriot (2 months ago)
You poor victim, you have fallen trap to your own self limiting beliefs.
Paul Gagnier (2 months ago)
Mary Cun Barra T
Indrek Vilms (2 months ago)
GM killed SAAB. Fools.
Mxr Wxl (2 months ago)
To do well in Europe American auto manufacture’s has to make the vehicle the same size as what’s already there’s as competitors. GM North American product is just to big for Europe.
Mark Cross (2 months ago)
Who is this guy they are interviewing. He’s clueless! There is no market for big trucks in Europe. Gm failed because it’s euro line was uninspired and dull. Ford and especially the focus and fiesta are huge sellers. They aren’t going anywhere as they’re the best in class. Opel/Vauxhall’s wasn’t by a long way.
Hemant Chawla (2 months ago)
Their cars were crap compared to German cars that too for not much less money.
Patriot (2 months ago)
Because they can't compete with German cars. duh If they were not so insolvent from giving all the top brass huge bonuses they would try and buy a German car company out. however I think the Germans are too smart for that? GM can't stay focused, they want instant profits so they keep changing instead of continuing to refine and improve there cars.
Ding-Dong Dunnit (2 months ago)
Simple answer: because gm cars are made from loads of plastic and bail-out money
Guenzburgh Dcl (2 months ago)
Silly and random excuses, the truth is that most large US businesses hire extremely bad management for European operations, why? I assume its corporate politics, they dont want overseas operations to be successful
John Michael (2 months ago)
Much of the comment in this is plain incorrect and viewed through a telescope from the US. Like may American organisations they assume that Europeans will want the poor quality vehicles available in the US. Ford and GM made a living for years by selling cars to fleet buyers, who ran them for 3 years and sold them cheap. That market disappeared a number of years ago virtually overnight with the spread of leasing. There the lease price reflects the likely resale price at the end of the lease as well as purchase, maintenance etc. Suddenly Ford and GM offerings were at the bottom of the heap because not only were they poor quality the true cost of ownership is high. A smart company would have revisited its offering and worked at improving it, but they have not, but have gone down the cost cutting route making their products less reliable, more prone to rust and fast decreciating. And by the way the vehicles are not cheap but are priced at the same area as the better built better designed competion. GM have gone, will Ford follow? Probably.
Franky Duschek (2 months ago)
Yes please keep gm in the US, not good here in Europe
Andrew FPV (2 months ago)
because europe is used to reliability and luxury. two things gm will never understand. as a master tech of twenty years. i sincerely hope gm is forced into full bankruptcy. they make junk and their designs only get worse and worse as decades progress.
Golden Retriever (2 months ago)
This is probably conspiratorial but I honestly think top gear may have something to do with it too They have TRASHED American cars And while they’re no longer on air anymore the damage has been done And while the video did say American cars were a hard sell in Europe anyway I’m just saying top gear may not have helped matters
Randian Winn (2 months ago)
My loyalty to American brands is equal to their loyalty to me .