Call 2015 the year of the big car reveal for Chevrolet.
Though Chevrolet has had no problems selling its trucks, large SUVs and performance cars, sales of Chevrolet passenger cars have been lagging. In March, Chevrolet sold 16,552 Malibu midsize cars. While that’s an increase over February Malibu sales, Toyota sold 40,800 of its Camry midsize cars in March, and Honda sold 26,018 Accord models.
Alan Batey, president, GM North America and Global Chevrolet, says that Chevrolet sees an opportunity when it comes to passenger cars, and the redesigned 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, which was unveiled at the New York International Auto Show earlier this month, illustrates efforts that Chevrolet is making to be more competitive in the small, midsize and large car classes.
When working on the new Malibu, Batey says, “We spent a lot of time with customers really understanding what they needed and what they wanted from a midsize car.” As a result of that research, the Malibu team focused on three things, Batey says: “stunning design, meaningful performance and really high-end technology.”
The all-new Malibu is one of five car debuts for Chevrolet in 2015. At the Detroit Auto Show in January, the company showed off the redesigned Chevrolet Volt extended-range hybrid and the all-new Chevrolet Bolt EV. The New York Auto Show also included an introduction of the redesigned 2016 Chevrolet Spark, and the company is expected to debut a redesigned Camaro later this year.
During press conferences revealing the new models in Detroit and New York, executives repeated the theme that the updated cars from Chevrolet will have the high-tech features, quality and fuel economy that consumers want. That may not be enough to get consumers into Chevrolet cars, however. Michelle Krebs, director of automotive relations at AutoTrader.com, says that, historically, cars have not been a strong component of Chevrolet’s lineup. “Chevrolet has not offered as many cars as trucks/utilities, has sold far more volume of trucks/utilities than cars – and the cars it has sold over the past 15 years haven’t been particularly stellar and include the notorious Cobalt, included in last year’s massive recall.”
However, that doesn’t mean that Chevrolet can’t change direction where mainstream cars are concerned. “Except for the Camaro and Corvette, Chevrolet cars have not won critical acclaim - until recently. The Chevrolet Impala was the first to win over Consumer Reports,” says Krebs. “That said, Chevrolet hasn’t been seen as a maker of 'cars' and of great cars (Camaro and Corvette excluded). In fact, its cars have been seen as vanilla, and consumers are skeptical of their quality. It will take time – and introduction of one after the other of stylish, quality cars – for Chevrolet to be thought of as a car company and a good one at that.”
Will the new Chevrolet cars coming to dealerships convince you to buy?
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