Chevrolet is benefiting from launching new product into the smaller car segments during the economic downturn.
Les Turton, marketing manager, said: “The credit crunch is working in our favour because people are looking at what they are spending. Core to us is that our cars are very good value products with good specification.”
The brand has a target of 19,500 registrations, up 6% on last year’s 18,400. Year-to-date, it is up 11%. It sold 14,380 in 2006, the year it re-branded from GM Daewoo.
The sustained interest from consumers is benefitting the brand in attracting more retailers.
By the end of the year, Chevrolet expects to have increased its retail network from 100 to 105 dealerships.
Those five are in addition to 11 retailers recruited in the last 12 months, including “three or four” replacements for dealers exiting the franchise.
Harvey Hughes, national sales manager, said: “The retailers that we have are working very hard within the marketplace. Our franchise is one where we work closer with retailers, actively supporting them.”
Since 2006, Chevrolet has reallocated marketing funds, which otherwise would have been spent on national press advertising, into its Local Heroes programme.
This provides support for dealers to hold displays at county shows, shopping centres and similar events, and provides dedicated PR for the network.
Turton said the programme proves very effective at reaching Chevrolet’s typical customers, typically in their 50s or older.
Although nationally the network’s average market penetration is 1%, many dealers have achieved 5% penetration in their local market. “Every event is monitored for leads.
Last year we had 930 events across all the retailers, so each retailer does an event nearly every three weeks,” he said.
Unprompted brand recognition has improved since Chevrolet’s launch, helped by national marketing activity such as the TV campaign for the Captiva SUV and sponsorship of TV chat shows and the Chat magazine awards.
The brand is also benefitting from 10 timely model replacements by 2012.
The B-segment Aveo arrived earlier this year, which will be followed by the C-segment Cruze saloon next year.
From 2010, dealers will get the Camaro as a halo model, an A-segment car based on the Beat concept and another model, possibly a mini-MPV, positioned between Cruze and the D-segment Epica.