UPDATE 5-GM to drop Chevy brand in Europe to focus on Opel

Thu Dec 5, 2013 1:28pm EST
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* GM to shut Chevy in Europe in response to downturn

* GM to focus resources on expanding Opel/Vauxhall brands

* To result in net special charges of $700 million-$1 billion

* Attempted Chevy revamp put it in competition with Opel

* Chevy wind-down in Europe to hurt auto production in Korea

By Edward Taylor and Ben Klayman

FRANKFURT/DETROIT, Dec 5 (Reuters) - In a strategic about-face, General Motors will drop the Chevrolet brand in Europe by the end of 2015 after it failed to build significant market share, and the company will focus instead on its Opel and Vauxhall lines to try to return to profitability there.

The world's second-biggest carmaker behind Japan's Toyota Motor Corp said on Thursday that the decision would result in one-time charges of up to $1 billion, but it should lead to production, marketing and distribution savings.

GM shares were up 1.1 percent at $39.13 in afternoon New York Stock Exchange trading.   Continued...