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Cadillac Celestiq screenshot.png Cadillac
Hand-built Cadillac Celestiq among GM products coming to European showrooms.

General Motors to Officially Return to Europe in 2023

The Cadillac and Chevrolet brands will underpin an all-BEV lineup in selected markets.

General Motors will officially return to the European auto market in autumn 2023, marking the end of a five-year absence.

The return, confirmed by GM Europe President and Managing Director Jaclyn McQuaid, will be underpinned exclusively by battery-electric models, with Scandinavian countries and Switzerland as the first markets.

McQuaid, who was promoted to head GM Europe in November 2022 after a stint as executive chief engineer for fullsize trucks in the U.S., hasn’t provided specific details about the electric vehicles intended to be sold in Europe. However, GM sources suggest it is gearing up to offer the Cadillac Lyriq in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden – European countries with among the highest uptake of BEVs – as well as Switzerland.

Other BEVs being readied for European sale by GM include the Chevrolet Equinox EV, Chevrolet Blazer EV (pictured, below) and Cadillac Celestiq.

ChevroletChevrolet blazer-ev-ss-24.jpg

Initial operations will center on left-hand-drive models only, though GM hasn’t ruled out returning to right-hand markets such as the U.K. and Ireland in the longer term, Wards has been told.

Confirmation of GM's intention to once again establish a sales presence in Europe comes just six months after McQuaid initially signaled plans were underway for a return to a market it occupied for 90 years prior to its retreat in 2017 with the sale of its Opel and Vauxhall brands to PSA Group.

“European customers are switching to electric vehicles at a faster rate than anywhere in the world, and GM is investing $35 billion through 2025 to be a major driver of our industry’s transformation,” she says.

The majority of GM’s investment is focused on its new Ultium platform and battery cells, as well as autonomous driving technology.

In recent developments in Europe, GM has established an advanced design hub in the U.K. and has expanded its existing IT innovation unit in Ireland. Additionally, its Cadillac brand has returned to motorsport with an LMDh hybrid endurance racecar that will compete next month at the Le Mans 24 Hours in France.

GM’s return to Europe follows confirmation by rival Ford that it will begin selling its new European-market Explorer BEV (pictured, below) across Europe by the end of 2023. The CUV is the first model from a BEV alliance with Volkswagen.

FordFord Explorer BEV front 1.4 (2).jpg

Together with the Mustang Mach-E already on sale in Europe, the Explorer is among nine battery-electric passenger and commercial vehicles Ford plans to sell in Europe by the end of 2024.

Ford is also said to be committed to sales of the F-150 Lightning in Norway.

Suggestions are GM is looking at offering the Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC Sierra EV and Hummer EV in selected European markets as rivals to the Lightning, though this is yet to be confirmed.

GM’s withdrawal from Europe came after it sold its Opel and Vauxhall brands to French automaker PSA for $2.33 billion in 2017. PSA later merged with Fiat Chrysler to form Stellantis.

In recent years, GM sales in Europe have been handled by Zurich-based Cadillac Europe. It has overseen limited imports of the Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Corvette and Cadillac XT4. 

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