Published on November 16th, 2018 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Why Is Chevrolet Declining In ASEAN?
In early 2015, General Motors (GM) pulled out of Indonesia after operating there since 1938. At the time, its market share in Indonesia stood at below 1%. Then weeks later, GM started scaling down its operations in Thailand where its had just a 3% market share. At the time, the Chevrolet Spin (compact MPV) and Sonic (compact car) were seeing declining sales despite the Thai governments push to to encourage compact vehicles sales using the ‘Eco Car 2’ program. Only the Chevrolet pickup truck seemed to continue having a following.
Now in November 2018, after 4 business ‘marriages’ with Malaysian companies, GM is retracting again from Malaysia. Its 4th marriage, with the Naza Group has just ended and the GM PR department in Thailand has issued a statement saying that a new 5th business marriage is being planned. We are sure this marriage will not take place in the near future unless GM itself comes to Malaysia and opens for business with new and interesting products.
Looking at GM’s issues with Indonesia and Thailand it is not surprising that the Malaysian retreat has come. We believe that GM has not looked seriously into the buyer behavior and the needs of the maturing ASEAN motoring consumer and instead just brought in products that does not compete head to head with Korean and Japanese vehicles sold in ASEAN. (The last Cruze and Malibu cars have been replaced with newer models globally but were never introduced in Malaysia) and the ageing Captiva SUV has no revised model.
Looking at how Mazda and Subaru have moved fast forward in ASEAN to compete with long established Toyota, Nissan and Honda in ASEAN, its is clear indication that the product planners in both Mazda and Subaru have understood the maturing needs of the ASEAN car buyer and developed new ‘sexy’ products with latest cabin and drivetrain technology to stay ahead and even at times be ahead of the established competitors.
It is time for General Motors to understand that ASEAN is a mature car market and buyers will not accept old technology under fresh paint and leather.