GM plans new EV startup business model for Europe

Five years ago General Motors sold its European operations – including its Opel and Vauxhall brands – to Stellantis. At the time it looked like GM was done with Europe and vice versa. Then, earlier this year, GM CEO Mary Barra surprised the automotive world by announcing that the company was planning to re-enter the European market.

Barra told an audience in May: “About five years ago we sold our Opel business to what is now Stellantis and we have no seller remorse for an internal combustion engine business. But we’re looking at the growth opportunities we have now because we can re-enter Europe as an all-EV player. I look forward to it.”

At that time, Mahmoud Samara was appointed Managing Director of GM Europe. Samara was Cadillac’s sales and marketing manager in North America, where he helped transition that brand to an all-electric lineup. Its mission in Europe was to create a sustainable, profitable “non-traditional mobility start-up” for electric and autonomous vehicles, software, connectivity services, logistics and defense.

Recently, Samara decided to leave the company. On November 1, GM announced that Jaclyn McQuaid will assume the position of President and CEO of GM Europe, where she will lead the execution of GM’s new mobility startup business. McQuaid has enjoyed a long and distinguished career at GM, most recently as a senior engineer responsible for full-size trucks.

Since November 2021, GM has significantly expanded its operations in Europe as it prepares to launch a new, non-traditional startup leveraging GM’s global growth investments. Over the past year, GM Europe has expanded its customer and technology-centric teams, announced a European design center based in the UK, and further expanded its IT innovation center in Ireland.

“European customers are transitioning to electric vehicles faster than anywhere else in the world, and GM is investing $35 billion in electric and autonomous vehicle technology through 2025 to be a key driver of our industry’s transformation,” said McQuaid. “Our flexible Ultium battery platform and the breadth and depth of our EV portfolio enable GM to offer customers in Europe a variety of products and services to support their lifestyles while contributing to a future without accidents, zero emissions and zero congestion” , she added.

GM light drops

electric notes that this latest announcement came from Cadillac, which could indicate that GM is considering selling its Lyriq and Celestiq electric cars in Europe. On the other hand, the company also makes Brightdrop electric delivery vans and owns Cruise, an autonomous ride-sharing service. Brightdrop also recently unveiled its e-cart, tailored to the needs of those who want to shop online and have their groceries delivered to their doorstep.

GM no longer has a dealer network or manufacturing presence in Europe, suggesting that all of the products it sells there are imported from the US or Canada. This, of course, brings up the new Inflation Reduction Act and its focus on “Made in America” – a touchy subject in Europe.

Very little is known about GM’s plans for the continent. The company did business there for 90 years but lost a lot of money from its European operations for much of that time. Will the fact that his new company will focus on electric vehicles change the profitability equation for GM? “We shall see,” said the Zen master.


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