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Honda Gears Up

Gear Concept makes surprise debut in Montreal.

by on Jan.18, 2013

Honda Gears up for Gen-Y.

Considering the 1000s of journalists and industry leaders who descended upon Detroit this week, one is tempted to forget that things continue to happen in other parts of the industry. Indeed, there were several other significant auto shows occurring this week, some even making a bit of news.

Like the Montreal International Auto Show, where Honda decided to pull the wraps off the new Gear show car rather than bring it to Detroit – perhaps reflecting upon the fact that the Canadian market tends to be more favorable to urban-style minicars despite downsizing trends in the U.S.

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Formally known as the Honda Gear Concept Study Model, the prototype is designed to show that small cars can be more than utilitarian econoboxes. The show car may be “simple and utilitarian,” the maker says, but it is “also customizable, connected and full of personality.”


Millennials Want Hybrids – But May Not Buy Them

Challenges targeting newest generation of buyers.

by on Jan.20, 2012

Chevrolet is testing the interest of Millennial buyers in a pair of concepts, including the Tru 140S.

There’s a big gap between what people say they want and what they’ll actually spend their money on, as automakers are well aware of.  So, the industry is taking a cautious view of a new study by consulting firm Deloitte that finds six of 10 Millennials would like to buy a hybrid or electric vehicles rather than a conventionally powered car, truck or crossover.

That would suggest that manufacturers are positioning themselves well for the wave of young buyers just now entering the market – also known as Gen-Y, the Millennials comprise a cohort of almost 80 million Americans, a group even bigger than the vaunted Baby Boomers that reshaped America over the last half century or so.  Virtually every maker on the market is now offering at least one gas-electric model in its line-up, with an assortment of conventional hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, to follow.

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But young drivers aren’t the only ones who say they want to go with the latest, battery-based green technologies.  Some other recent surveys have found that even older Americans routinely say they plan to “consider” a hybrid next time they shop for a new car.  It’s just that those battery-based vehicles usually don’t make the cut, in the end.  Last year, hybrids actually slipped as a percentage of the overall U.S. market to barely 2%.  Total sales of all battery-based vehicles barely matched demand for the Honda Accord.


Chevrolet Targeting Millennials with Pair of Auto Show Concepts

Cracking the code for a new generation.

by on Jan.09, 2012

The Code 130R is one of two Chevrolet concepts testing the market among Millennials.

Baby Boomers, step aside.  There’s a new generation of car buyers entering the market and Chevrolet wants to win them over.

They’re the target audience for a pair of distinctive concept vehicles General Motors’ largest brand is debuting at this year’s North American International Auto Show.  Small, high-tech and fuel-efficient, they’re decidedly not the sort of products that Chevy has traditionally thrown at the Boomers, today’s largest automotive buying group.

“There’s a pretty significant shift in how people are viewing automobiles and transportation, in general,” suggests John McFarland, Chevy’s senior manager of global marketing.

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McFarland says he and other members of his team have already met with over 9,000 Millennials in the process of developing the two concepts, dubbed Code 130R and Tru 140S, that are making their debut at the Detroit Auto Show.  Whether they actually connect with potential buyers in the youngest buying group remains to be seen but they could be in production in less than two years, has learned.