Chevrolet, major sponsor of Man. United and Liverpool FC, to pull out of Europe
General Motors has announced plans "to accelerate its progress in Europe by bolstering its brands in the mainstream and premium segments".
An important part of this process will be that the company will compete in Europe's volume car markets only under its Opel and Vauxhall brands.
The company's Chevrolet brand will no longer have a mainstream presence in Western and Eastern Europe, largely, says the company, "due to a challenging business model and the difficult economic situation in Europe".
The move may have longer term implications for Premier League clubs Manchester United and Liverpool FC, who struck sponsorship deals with the marque in July 2012. Those deals were announced within a few days of each other, as we reported at the time: the Liverpool deal saw them become the brand's Official Automotive Partner; the Manchester United agreement saw Chevrolet become only the fifth shirt sponsor in the club's 134-year history.
Chevrolet's absence, beginning in 2016, will be in the 'mainstream'; the fourth-largest global automotive brand will instead tailor its presence to offering select iconic vehicles – such as the Corvette – in Western and Eastern Europe, and will continue to have a broad presence in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Reports suggest that GM still sees substantial value in the sponsorship deals they have in place with the two iconic football brands. This is just as well: the seven-year deal with Man. United is rumoured to be worth well over £300m, though the Liverpool contract is said to be much smaller, reportedly around £4.5m.
But the global reach of Premier League football, broadcast in 212 countries around the world with a claimed audience of 4.7 billion, will no doubt ensure that the existing deals continue to deliver good value for GM.
Earlier this year we reported that Chevrolet had signed a three-year deal with the United States Soccer Federation, so clearly GM sees the brand's future sponsorship strategy very much tied to the world's most popular sport.