DETROIT – The Chevrolet brand can be everything to everyone, just don’t look for the bow-tie division to try and satisfy the specific wants of every consumer with every product, GM North American President Mark Reuss says.
“Doing a full lineup of trim levels and sport models for every one of the Chevrolets we’re bringing to market is not what we’re doing,” Reuss tells WardsAuto after introducing a pair of Chevy concept cars targeting buyers aged under 30 years.
The industry has been guilty in the past of the practice of burdening a single product with add-ons such as performance variants, value plays and hybrids. It often stretches a nameplate’s budget too thinly, adding costly engineering work and build complexity at the assembly plant, which also raises order complexity at the dealer level.
GM, for example, has offered SS, hybrid and economy-minded models of the Chevy Malibu. The Malibu SS version sometimes amounted to badge work and the last hybrid effort sank because its fuel economy was no better than an entry-trim-level model.
GM will not repeat that mistake, Reuss says.
The Chevy Cruze, for example, does not get an SS model, but it does have a fuel-sipping Eco variant. If a customer wants a sporty small car, the auto maker offers the Chevy Sonic. GM unveiled a performance RS model at North American International Auto Show here on Monday.
“If you look at the history of the U.S. auto industry, there were times when everybody tried to do everything, and that spreads things pretty thin,” Reuss says.
“If you can focus on a brand basis and model-entry basis and say, ‘We’re going to participate in these and not do everything,’ I think you can do a much better job. You’re seeing it here today.”
Reuss stops short of confirming plans to build the two Chevy concept cars unveiled here, known as Tru 140S and Code 130R, but says platform and exterior work essentially have been completed. The auto maker next will turn next to fielding consumer reception and devising the interiors.
“This is a continuing journey, and the journey began with the exterior and the proportions of the car and the architecture, in terms of front-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive,” Reuss says.
“The interior is the next piece. And the validation of that, not just by the Millennials, starts today at the auto show. We’ll see if there is interest and a business case.”