Chevrolet’s New Cars Are Impressive, But Will Anyone Notice In This Truck … – Forbes

Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2015

General Motors’ Chevrolet division is in the midst of an unprecedented product rollout, introducing five new cars in the next eight months, a feat that could create long-term goodwill for its mainstream brand, but has short-term challenges as well.

Any vehicle launch is a critical, all-hands-on-deck job, with pressure to make sure production ramps up swiftly, with no quality issues, so there is no lapse in inventory at dealer showrooms. Launching five vehicles in quick succession is five times the pressure.

And call it bad timing, perhaps: four of the five new models are fuel-efficient passenger cars (the fifth, a performance car) at a time when light trucks and SUVs – not cars – are what consumers crave.

Is the hapless GM out of step yet again? Not really. The fact is that Chevy is doing fine in the truck department. Despite intense competition, its sales of light trucks are up 20.2 percent so far this year, thanks to its big Silverado pickup, its new mid-sized Colorado and continued strong sales of SUVs like the compact Equinox.

Where it could use some help is in its car lineup, where sales are down 14.5 percent so far this year, vs. down 1.3 percent industry-wide.

All five of Chevrolet’s new cars – the Spark, Malibu, Camaro, Cruze and plug-in Volt – are vastly improved over their predecessors, with better styling, advanced safety systems and cool technology like a built-in 4G LTE Wifi hotspot and the ability to fully integrate your smartphone into the dashboard through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

With features like that, Chevrolet is positioning itself as a leader, not a follower, says Alan Batey, the brand’s global chief and president of General Motors’ North American operations.

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