DUBAI -- General Motors Co. has shifted marketing of Chevrolet cars in Europe to its Asian and Middle Eastern unit.
The General Motors International Operations unit, which already sells GM's brands including Chevrolet outside the Americas and central and western Europe, will take on Europe as of Jan. 1, said Tim Lee, president of the division.
GM has abandoned its goal of breaking even this year in Europe, where it makes Opel and Vauxhall models, as economic conditions in the region deteriorate.
Lee's GMIO unit was the automaker's only business outside North America to report a profit in the third quarter, in contrast to losses at GM Europe and in South America.
"I am very optimistic that between the divisions -- Chevrolet, Opel and Vauxhall -- we can find good synergies and improve our business conditions," Lee said.
GM expects a "very strong" end to the year in GMIO's markets, Lee said. The unit is also responsible for GM's business in Africa and former Soviet countries including Russia.
"Europe is a concern," Lee said. "We have yet to solve the riddle in terms of being steadily profitable in Europe, but we are working on it every day both from the Opel, the Vauxhall and the Chevrolet side."
GM's worldwide profit this year has been affected by increasing costs related to engineering, marketing and introducing models, Lee said.
The spending has "brought us down a bit, but these are investments we're making in the future," said Lee, who is presenting Chevrolet's new TrailBlazer sport-utility vehicle at the Dubai International Motor Show.
GM had aimed to break even this year in Europe in terms of earnings before interest and taxes, excluding reorganization costs.
GM Europe's losses during the third quarter narrowed to $292 million from $559 million a year earlier. The results in Europe and South America were "unacceptable," Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson said on Thursday.
GM sold 407,000 vehicles in its European markets during the third quarter, up from 389,000 the year before. Opel/Vauxhall sales grew to 279,000 from 273,000. Chevrolet's European sales increased to 127,000 from 115,000.