American Car Companies Just Don’t Care Very Much About Europe

While I was being infused this morning, a couple of items caught my eye that I bookmarked for later research when I was back in front of my desktop computer. The first is American market share of the European auto market. Note that this has nothing to do with imports. Virtually all of the American cars listed here are manufactured in Europe itself:

For GM, I included the Opel badge that they sold to Peugeot last year. For Chrysler I pulled out the Jeep and Chrysler badges from Fiat/Chrysler.

Altogether, it adds up to 14 percent, nearly all of it from GM and Ford, which have been making and selling cars in Europe since before World War II. Despite this heritage, their European divisions have been disaster areas. Ford Europe has been rickety for long enough that selloff rumors are never far away; GM/Vauxhall was an enormous money pit for decades and finally did get sold off to Peugot, which then asked for half the purchase price back when they got a closer look at the books; and Chrysler has never had a presence at all (their current sales come almost exclusively from Jeeps).

So if you want to know why American car companies can’t seem to export cars to Europe, the first question to ask is why they can’t even sell cars that are made in Europe specifically for the European market. It’s not tariffs and it’s not regulations, since all EU carmakers operate on a level playing field. They just can’t seem to make good cars that Europeans want to buy. If they can’t do that, all the trade posturing in the world isn’t going to change things.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate