General Motors CEO Mary Barra says the company is ready to return to Europe as an electric vehicle maker after it left the market five years ago when it sold the Opel business to PSA Group.
As electric vehicles are booming in Europe, the second largest EV market in the world next to China, GM is considering a return to the continent. Speaking at the Milken Global Conference in Los Angeles, Barra confirmed the automaker's plan to increase its presence in Europe as GM targets an all-electric lineup by 2035.
"About five years ago, we sold our Opel business to what is now Stellantis and we have no seller's remorse from an internal combustion business. But we are looking at the growth opportunity that we have now, because we can reenter Europe as an all-EV player. I'm looking forward to that."
General Motors left Europe after nearly 90 years there when it sold the Opel and Vauxhall brands in 2017 to PSA Groupe (now part of Stellantis) for about $2.2 billion.
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While Opel and Vauxhall had been losing money for 16 consecutive years, their new owner made them profitable only one year after the acquisition. Opel and its UK unit are now frontrunners in electric mobility in Europe.
Selling Opel freed GM to focus and invest in vehicles for North America and China and allowed the company to develop EVs and self-driving cars.
However, GM never completely left Europe, even after selling Opel and Vauxhall. The carmaker continued selling Corvette and select Cadillac models, with GM spokesman David Barnas telling Detroit Free Press that the company sees Europe as an opportunity for its EVs and mobility business moving forward.
In November 2021, GM first announced plans to set up a mobility startup business in Europe. The unit will include General Motors' EV and autonomous vehicle portfolio of vehicles, as well as software, autonomous tech and freight and logistics services.
Barnas declined to say which of GM's new EVs will be sold in Europe and when. Cadillac's Lyriq electric SUV looks like a strong candidate, as do the electrified and EV versions of the Corvette that GM announced late last month.