DETROIT – General Motors unveils at the North American International Auto Show a pair of youth-focused Chevrolet concept cars, which draw inspiration from young Americans and will travel the world seeking additional product ideas from the under-30-crowd.

GM calls the first concept car “Code 130R.” A 4-passenger, rear-wheel-drive coupe, it features a simple, upright profile and borrows styling cues from Chevy’s performance heritage.

GM outfits Code 130R with a 1.4L turbocharged 4-cyl. engine linked to the auto maker’s eAssist mild-hybrid system, seeking the balance between performance and fuel economy young buyers want, the auto maker says.

The second vehicle, called Tru 140S, is a 4-passenger, front-drive hatchback. The 3-door is meant to look confident, expensive, exotic and fast, but maintain an affordable price. It also marries a high-tech 1.4L turbo 4-cyl. with a mild-hybrid system.

Both vehicles share traits young buyers tell GM they are seeking, such as sedan-sized functionality in a performance coupe seating four people; wireless Internet connectivity; innovative storage; a 40-mpg-plus (5.9 L/100 km) powertrain with at least 150 hp; and a price tag in the low-$20,000 range.

After their Detroit premier, the cars will travel to auto shows and lifestyle events around the world. GM hopes the concepts will spur more ideas from young people it can incorporate into future vehicles.

“This is crowd-sourcing,” says Clay Dean, a design director at GM.

GM discovered during its research for the concepts that young people are lukewarm to the Chevrolet brand. The auto maker believes the cars will heat up that connection because they engage young people in a way that has proved successful for other brands, such as Yelp.

Yelp, a website, carries user-generated reviews of local and mostly urban goods and services, from dentists to restaurants and other nightlife activities.

Dean says consumers aged between 18 and 24 years have not given up on the automobile, their demands are just different.

“Love for the auto industry still exists,” he tells journalists during a briefing on the cars ahead of the Detroit show last month. “The car for them is still an escape.”

Most importantly, Dean adds, “They want to take everyone with them. They don’t want to leave anyone out.”

GM does not want them left out, either. The auto maker’s research shows 80 million Americans approaching 30 years old, representing 40% of the current car-buying public and a combined $1 trillion in spending power.

jamend@wardsauto.com