For years US carmakers have desperately tried defending their territory from invading foreign carmakers, but everyone knows the best defense is a good offense. Over the past decade GM and Chrysler have been expanding their range in Europe, and now they’re starting to see the fruits of their labor. The companies are making serious inroads into export markets and could possibly even become a threat to some of the mainstream European manufacturers.

This month, GM opened Europe’s first Authentic Hummer Center in France’s capital, which is just the first step in the company’s European invasion. New mega dealerships are scheduled to open in London and Rome, followed soon after by a supported network of smaller dealerships. Sales in Europe of the Hummer range are up 200 percent over last year's results, with a similar increase expected for 2007. Experts are urging GM to focus on its more established brands, namely Cadillac, who’s performing at half the level that execs had hoped for. Chevy is making great progress as well, from January to September it sold a total of 247,871 vehicles in Europe, up more than 10 percent compared to 2005, with plans for even more models, including the Ultra hatchback and seven-seat Captiva crossover.

GM will soon be joined by Chrysler with the recent introductions of the Sebring and Jeep Wrangler and the already successful Dodge Caliber. Chrysler was the fastest growing manufacturing group in Western Europe for August, and the growth has spurred the company to export the Dodge Nitro next year. If this growth in sales keeps going, there may be a brighter future for the domestics after all.