Special Coverage

New York Int’l Auto Show

NEW YORK – Even though Chevrolet will sell a high proportion of vehicles domestically this year, it still will deliver more than half its volume outside the U.S., Jim Campbell, vice president-marketing, tells Ward's at the auto show here.

Last year, the General Motors Co.’s division sold 60% of its volume outside the U.S. “We're enjoying amazing growth in other parts of the world,” he says, noting the brand is sold in 130 countries.

China and Brazil, which are neck and neck in Chevy sales, are the largest foreign markets overall. Canada is the biggest foreign market in North America, and Mexico also is significant, Campbell says.

The Chevy chief says his division has to grow its business this year. “So goes Chevy, so goes GM,” he says.

“We're up in sales for the first couple of months of the year. We've got to do that every month.”

However, GM has no strategy to expand Chevrolet's portfolio to make up for sales lost with the closing of the Pontiac and Saturn brands.

One new model that will debut this year is the Chevy Spark minicar. The Spark already is being sold in Europe, and Campbell expresses confidence the tiny car will find a market here also.

He also says Chevrolet is watching the aggressive incentives being offered by Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. and American Honda Motor Co. Inc.

“We'll remain competitive with the key players. We need to be measured in our response.”

But Chevrolet has a lot of marketing tools to compete. “There's no one solution, and we have to watch used-car pricing,” Campbell adds.

Industry-wide, there still is no sign of a significant jump in U.S. fullsize-pickup sales. “As housing improves, pickup sales will improve,” Campbell predicts. However, body-on-frame SUVs never again will beat out cross/utility vehicles in market share.