A major marketing spend is helping Chevrolet defy the economic downturn and maintain its share of retail showroom business.
Reformed after breaking with the former General Motors multibrand operation, the revitalised US brand is on course to achieve more than 10,000 retail sales in 2010.
“We are punching above our weight in an extremely challenging market and this is a great result. We are now well on the way to reaching a 1% market share,” said Chevrolet UK managing director Mark Terry.
Speaking in Spain last month at the international media launch of the Orlando, the company’s first compact seven-seat MPV, he said the sales performance owed much to the success of five-year promise, a warranty package claimed by the brand to be the best in the industry.
“This programme represents the biggest single investment we have ever made in the UK and it has come at just the right time. I’m not going to talk about the cost it involves, but I will say that it has already proved to be worth every penny,” he said.
Launched in July after research highlighted future eco-nomic difficulties, the warranty includes free servicing, roadside recovery, health checks, MoT insurance for a full five years and can be transferred to second and third owners.
“Our data shows that more than 28% of our retail customers have bought into the warranty. To have that much penetration with a new programme is a wonderful achievement. It’s unique and the best package around – no other manufacturer has a comprehensive programme to match it.
“We took heed of specific customer research in Q1 2010 that made it clear that customers are now looking for something more than just a price point or good value when they buy new cars. We will look again at the five-year promise after we get the next round of research findings in January.
“We will react to that new inform-ation and adapt the programme accordingly – we’re driven by what consumers want and not just top-trumping other manufacturers,” said Terry.
Chevrolet sold a total of 18,680 cars in 2009 and achieved 13,678 registrations from 2010 after opting out of fleet business Terry claims was not viable.
“We took a strategic decision not to discount products in sectors that are not conducive for the brand. Some fleet volume is not commercially viable and we didn’t want to compete for vanity purposes alone. The circumstances are different if you have high stocks or older product – but that’s not the case with Chevrolet.”
On sale in March, the Orlando will be followed by the revised Captiva SUV in June, a five-door version of the Cruze compact in July, the B-sector Aveo in September, along with the Camaro sports car.
“This product blitz will take us into segments we’ve not tapped before and increase our market exposure from 38% to 66%. Chevrolet will be a much different brand in 12 months’ time,” said Terry.