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With Chevrolet gone from Europe, Opel CEO Neumann has a better chance to restore profitability (Photo: GM)

General Motors will no longer market most of its Chevrolet-branded cars in Europe, providing Opel and its sister brand Vauxhall with a more clearly defined opportunity to restore profitability.

The US automaker said the move will "reduce the market complexity associated with having Opel and Chevrolet in Western and Eastern Europe." And GM CEO Dan Akerson said in a statement: "Europe is a key region for GM that will benefit from a stronger Opel and Vauxhall and further emphasis on Cadillac."

European buyers have for years been confused about the relative positioning of the Opel and Chevrolet brands. Both compete for the same customers in the volume market and the models on sale under both brand names have often been too similar.

As a result, the presence of Chevrolet in Opel's core European markets has been widely seen as a factor in Opel's long-term financial problems. Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann indicated at the Frankfurt auto show in September already that GM was working on a solution to the Opel-Chevrolet problem. He now has a new opportunity to restore Opel to profit.

Chevrolet will continue to be present in Europe, but GM said, it will offer mostly iconic vehicles such as the Corvette sports car. Chevrolet will also continue to be represented in Russia and former Soviet Union member states.

The carmaker's premium brand Cadillac is finalizing plans for a European expansion. Cadillac plans "numerous" new model introductions, GM said, and will enhance and expand its distribution network over the next three years.