Focus on Performance in General Motors’ Small Cars

The small car segment of the U.S. market was dominated by models that were good enough, but did not excel in their performance. However, good enough will not be what General Motors is looking for as it revived its performance division. Small cars offering efficient performance will become more important for GM. General Motors is going to increase performance on the small cars they will be producing, Chevrolet Cruze and Chevrolet Aveo being the first models to benefit from this renewed focus. The more compact cars will have added value and sportiness and it is hoped that they will attract buyers that cannot afford larger prices on larger cars. Sub-compacts on the U.S. market are hardly present, and a new performing Aveo might be what plenty of new car buyers will be looking for.

Although the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze will only reach U.S. dealerships in September, it is already a popular car on the international market. GM is proud of Cruze, considering it the fastest growing nameplates in the world.

Aveo has made its debut in concept form at the Detroit Auto Show. The 2012 Aveo is far from the budget-conscious models on the streets today. It looks like an Euro-style hatchback with rally car features, such as integrated roof-mounted spoiler and center-mounted exhaust pipes. Aveo will probably be a great little car for moving around town, but with styling to impress anybody, even those interested in fuel bill savings.

Other automakers besides GM are trying to give their newest small cars more appeal. Besides better styling or interiors, their performance is becoming more and more important. Even if they will cost more than the cars they will replace, the change is more than welcome. The 2012 Chevrolet Aveo is also reflecting these trends.

General Motors dominated the car market from 1930s to the first decade of the new century, only to be surpassed by Toyota in 2008 in numbers of cars sold. This is when GM needed to ask the federal government for money to keep the company going. Since then it is trying to become a smaller and more profitable company. The General Motors High Performance Division suffered the most from the 2009 bankruptcy, but is now becoming a priority to replace emphasis on Cadillac V-series or Chevrolet SS models.

High performance vehicles were put on hold in 2009 and since then the only performance models coming from GM were CTS-V Coupe and Sport Wagon. However, small and fuel-efficient cars are coming back favored by higher fuel prices and changing tastes. A new generation of small cars that do not sacrifice comfort or performance will cater to the tastes of the new generation of buyers. Big and powerful engines such as V8s have long been a soft spot for GM. However, smaller engines offered in performance versions of new 4 cylinder Chevrolet Cruze and Aveo might mean a brighter future for GM. Time will tell if the new strategy will bring better profits.