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Chevy Selling Small Cars with Big Technology

New website aims to draw first-time buyers.

by on May.10, 2016

The 2017 Chevrolet Trax is enjoying a stellar sales year posting a 39% increase through April.

The prevailing thought is that young car buyers are interested in primarily in new vehicles laden with technology of convenience: Bluetooth-enabled connections that allow drivers to respond to emails, get directions at the push of a button and listen to the song they can’t get out of their heads.

Chevrolet is betting that same group will be willing to use “technology of convenience” not only when they’re behind the wheel, but also in order to get behind the wheel: as in buying the car.

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The brand created ChevySmallCars.com, an online tool to help younger consumers find and consider smaller, less expensive models like the Sonic, Spark and Trax. (more…)

GM Expects to Fall Short of Electric Vehicle Goals

Maker likely to miss 2017 target by hundreds of thousands of cars.

by on May.07, 2015

The 2016 Volt will get 50 miles per charge, which is an increase over the previous generation Volt. Volt sales are down 46.1% this year.

General Motors recently cut the price and increased the range on its Chevy Volt hoping to stimulate sales. It slashed the price on the Chevy Spark EV as well.

Ideally it wants to sell the vehicles to add to the company’s bottom line, but the Detroit-based automaker is also way off track to meet its very public goal of having 500,000 vehicles on the road that use electricity in some form for propulsion by 2017.

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Through April, sales of the Volt are down 46.1% as well as for the Spark, which is purely an EV, which are down 4.2%. (more…)

Chevy Hopes to Spark Interest of Minicar Buyers

2016 Chevrolet Spark debuts in both New York and Seoul.

by on Apr.02, 2015

The 2016 Chevrolet Spark debuted at the New York Auto Show. It's been completely redesigned and hits showrooms in the fourth quarter.

Chevrolet pulled the covers off its new 2016 Spark – twice, in fact, with simultaneous debuts at the auto shows in both New York and Seoul.

The Korean-made minicar has been defying recent trends that have seen sales of small passenger cars slump in light of the drop in fuel prices. Demand for the Chevrolet Spark has risen by nearly a third so far this year after a 14.7% jump in 2014.And with the overall minicar segment expected to grow by 30% by 2018, GM sees even greater opportunities.

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Though the 2016 Spark retains its basic, tall hatchback shape, GM has adopted a “sleeker, more aerodynamic profile and a progressive take” on the outgoing model’s basic design cues. That fits into efforts to win over young urban buyers who want something small but not necessarily a basic econobox.

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Chevrolet Planning to Launch 200-Mile Bolt Electric Vehicle in Late 2016

GM wants to “put a muzzle on” outspoken Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

by on Feb.06, 2015

The Chevy Bolt would deliver significantly longer range than almost any current battery-electric vehicle - for around $30,000. Photo by Len Katz.

General Motors will begin building a production version of its Chevrolet Bolt battery-electric concept vehicle in October 2016, several well-placed company sources told TheDetroitBureau.com, a move that will put GM into direct competition with California EV start-up Tesla Motors, as well as more traditional automakers such as Nissan and BMW.

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Unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last month, the Chevy Bolt concept was expected to deliver about 200 miles of range per charge – more than double that of most of the electric vehicles currently on the market. That would address the issue of “range anxiety’ which, industry analysts say, has held back demand for battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs.

GM officials, meanwhile, said they would deliver the Bolt for around $30,000, which would put it much closer to the price tag of a comparable, gas-powered vehicle.

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New GM Electric Vehicle Could Take Aim at Tesla

Chevrolet Bolt expected to deliver 200-mile range at $30,000 price tag.

by on Jan.11, 2015

The nose of the current Chevrolet Volt, the first mass-market plug-in hybrid. It was redesigned for 2016. A pure electric Chevy Bolt could follow in 2017.

First came the Chevrolet Volt, now comes the Chevy Bolt. Even as General Motors gets ready to officially unveil an all-new version of its plug-in hybrid, various sources suggest the Detroit maker also will debut a concept version of a battery-electric vehicle at this week’s North American International Auto Show.

Significantly, the Chevrolet Bolt is expected to deliver as much as 200 miles range per charge. That would more than double what most of the current crop of electric vehicles can handle – and would be in line with what Tesla is thought to be targeting for the Model III, the mainstream EV it plans to launch in a couple years.

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And, at an estimated $30,000, GM would likely undercut the smaller Tesla model while coming in only slightly higher than some competing vehicles delivering half Bolt’s range, such as the Nissan Leaf, the Ford Focus Electric, and the current Chevrolet Spark, which can travel just 82 miles per charge.

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Most Minicars Fail New Frontal Crash Tests

Chevy Spark the only model to pass – barely.

by on Jan.22, 2014

The Chevrolet Spark was the only one of 11 minicars to pass the IIHS front crash test.

A new round of crash tests could give serious pause to those hoping to downsize in order to lower their fuel bills or simply to reduce monthly payments – especially those who don’t want to downsize their safety.

Of 11 new minicars examined by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 10 failed the trade group’s challenging new small overlap front test, the sort of crash common in real-world driving.  Only the Chevrolet Spark passed, and then just barely – the IIHS dubbing “these tiny vehicles the worst performing group of any evaluated so far.”

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As a result, the Spark is now the only minicar to earn the group’s coveted 2014 Top Safety Pick award.  Several other models previously honored lose that endorsement after failing the new crash test which is designed to replicate what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another car or an object like a utility pole or tree.

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First Drive: 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

Adding personality to battery power.

by on Jul.22, 2013

The 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV is just reaching showrooms in California and Oregon.

One of the surprise hits of the 2013 has been the little Chevrolet Spark, the smallest offering the U.S. maker has offered American motorists in decades. A key to that success has been its distinctive design and personality.

That’s good news as Chevy launches a battery-powered version of the Spark. Up until now electric vehicles have been treated as sort of a one-of-a-kind category without much in the way of distinguishing characteristics – other than their lack of tailpipe emissions. But as the number of pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, on the road continues to grow, they’re beginning to develop some distinctive personalities.

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General Motors engineers have clearly managed to distinguish the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV from other BEVs by making it fit quite nicely into a crowded urban landscape.

The Spark EV is GM’s first pure electric vehicle since it pulled the EV1 out of production in 1999. While it’s range, at 82 miles, isn’t all that much more than the final version of that old GM battery car, the new Chevy is quite a lot of fun to drive — in fact, it’s way more than the EV1.

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GM Planning to Export Spark EV

Sees opportunities in Korea and Europe.

by on Jul.17, 2013

A Chevy Spark EV charging.

General Motors plans to start selling its new Spark EV in South Korea by the end of the year and is preparing plans to launch the vehicle in Europe as well, Chevrolet officials tell TheDetroitBureau.com.

The Spark EV went on sale in California last month and while GM officials declined to offer sales projections for the Spark, they said they are quite optimistic about the long range prospects for the battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, particularly in key urban markets.

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“We expect growth in this segment,” said Chevrolet communications director Mike Albano.  “We’re bullish on the electric vehicle market.”

GM began selling the Spark EV, its first pure electric vehicle since the ill-fated EV1, last month. The base price for the battery version of the Chevrolet Spark subcompact is $27,495 – though that drops to $17,495 after the application of a $7,500 federal tax credit and another $2,500 credit from the state of California.

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“Big Year” for Chevrolet

Chevy promises 13 for ’13.

by on Oct.11, 2012

A redesigned Impala will be one of 13 new models Chevrolet promises for 2013.

Some folks might consider it doubly unlucky but Chevrolet is counting on rebuilding its momentum in the months ahead as it launches 13 new products for the ’13 model-year.

The maker certainly can use a little boost.  While its sales are up since January, that pace has generally lagged the overall automotive recovery, gaining a modest 11% to date. The new model-year gained a bit of traction in September as some of the first of those new offerings began to reach showrooms, generating a nearly 14% year-over-year bump. But arch-rival Toyota gained more than 41% — meaning Chevy and General Motors, overall, still continued losing market share.

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No wonder Mike Albano, chief spokesman for GM’s largest brand, declared that 2013 “is a big year for Chevrolet” during a news conference outlining the product strategy for the coming months.

We’ve already see some of those new offerings, including the all-new Spark minicar, the larger Sonic and the completely redesigned Malibu. That midsize sedan has had a two-part rollout starting with the launch of the new Eco version last Winter and now seeing more mainstream models wheel into Chevy showrooms.

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Is New $50 Chevy Navigation System a Game-Changer?

Maker turns to the Cloud.

by on Aug.03, 2012

The 2013 Chevrolet Spark will offer a $50 navigation system called BringGo.

Sales of factory-installed navigation systems have long fallen short of expectations in the U.S., analysts say, because of the high cost of the technology – which in most vehicles still pushes north of $1,000 and can run almost double that in a few models.

Chevrolet hopes to see a paradigm shift in demand, however, with the upcoming launch of its new BringGo system.  The smartphone-based navigation package will cost buyers just $50.

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BringGo is actually a hybrid that relies on so-called “cloud”-based data rather than building everything into the vehicle itself.  The maker pairs a smartphone-based navi app with an in-car video display with the system which is debuting on the new Chevrolet Spark minicar.

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