August saw sales of new cars fall by 7% across Europe – but for GM Europe, the decline was 8.1%. Although the Saab division is performing well, GM’s plans to turn its core Opel and Vauxhall divisions around are not working fast enough. Both brands still lack punch in buyers’ eyes.

General Motors’ European division is continuing to register falling sales, after successive declines in June, July and August. Sales for the company fell by 8.1% in August, against a national average of 7%, despite a new model launch and a strong performance from Saab, its subsidiary. GME lost $240 million in the first six months of the year.

The core Opel/Vauxhall brand still fails to arouse most buyers, and a revival plan known as Project Olympia is in place to boost its image. While sales in the fleet sector are still strong, private sector buyers still favor Ford, GM’s key rival. Opel/Vauxhall models seem to lack any cutting edge in comparison with Ford’s line-up.

The company launched the new Vectra earlier this year, and the upper medium saloon has been well received, but is not yet being produced is sufficient numbers to halt the overall decline in sales. Sales in Swedish subsidiary Saab are also on the increase, and are likely to continue to do so with the arrival of the new 9-3 Sport Saloon, a significant improvement on the car that it replaces.

Even so, GM isn’t doing quite as bad as some of its rivals in Europe. The firm actually moved up the European sales chart in August to fourth place. Renault had an even worse month than the US-based firm, moving down to fifth.

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