Chevrolet uses Paris Motor Show in Europe offensive

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Chevrolet premiered four new models at the Paris Motor Show on Thursday as part of a bid by the US carmaker to boost its tiny market share in Europe.

"Right now there are far too few people (in Europe) who know about Chevrolet and the cars we make so our intention is to tell our story a little bit louder ... than we've been able to tell it," said Chevrolet Europe president Wayne Brannon.

Launching four cars -- the Orlando minivan, the Cruze five-door saloon, the Aveo subcompact, and the Captiva -- in Paris was a "strong statement that we are committed as a company globally to Chevrolet in Europe," he said.

"We're bringing cars that fit Europeans' needs," he told journalists.

Brannon said that currently the General Motors unit had a 2.5-percent market share in the European segment it competed in, which was just one quarter of the overall market.

"By 2012 we will be represented on 50 percent of the market, maybe 75 percent," he said.

The Chevrolet stand at the Paris show, which opens to the public Saturday after two days of press previews, also displayed the much-hyped fully electric Volt, which can be charged by a conventional power outlet and can run for up to 40 miles (64 kilometres) without fuel.

The car goes on the road in the United States in November and in Europe a year later.

Chevrolet is the fourth largest automaker in the world with 4.5 million vehicles sold last year.

But its 2009 European sales skidded 16 percent to 426,000 vehicles, mostly due to falling sales in Russia, the company's largest market on the continent.

© 2010 AFP

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