Chevy Expects Half of Cruze Buyers to Come from Other Brands


Chevy is about ready to launch the all new Cruze compact sedan here in North America and company executives have high hopes for this latest model. During a sit-down Q&A with engineering, marketing and product bosses behind the Cruze, Chuck Russell, Vehicle Line Director for Global Compact Cars said the introduction of the Cruze, “might be he most important launch we’ve ever done.”

The numbers seem to support Russell’s statement. As a brand, Chevy sales make up 70 percent of GM’s total sales in the U.S. and the compact car segment just so happens to be the second largest segment in the U.S., making up 15.2 percent of all vehicles sold. That’s just shy of the 16.1 percent first place spot held by mid-size sedans. This also happens to be a segment where Chevy has come up short, with the Cobalt a failed successor to the Cavalier.

With the Cruze, Chevy believes it has the car to get the job done, having already sold 270,000 units globally. But this is not an entirely global car, with new items being introduced in each market, like the new 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that is debuting in the U.S.

North American models will also get Chevy’s patented Z-link rear suspension that maintains the benefits of a fixed torsion beam setup (like low cost, light weight and compact size) while delivering a ride that is closer to a fully-independent setup. GM engineers believe they’ve come up with something truly innovative in this suspension setup, even going so far as to call it a “better moustrap.” Not all markets are getting this more advanced rear suspension system, but North America is because Chevy wanted to build a compact car that would be a winner. “Being as good as [the competition] isn’t going to work,” says Russell.

In general Chevy said it concentrated on five major areas in developing the Cruze, ensuring its compact but with an upscale presence, has leading fuel economy, class-leading safety and content, excellent handling and a refined ride, and finally durability and top-notch build quality.

For the doubters, Global Small Car Marketing Director Margaret Brooks, cites the new Equinox, stating the right product will bring success. Brooks lists off impressive numbers for the Equinox, like a four percent market share increase in the compact crossover segment (the nations 3rd largest segment) so far this year, with an average transaction price that is up $3,400. She breaks down where Chevy expects to see Cruze buyers coming from, with a third moving up from smaller or used cars, a third moving over from current GM products and a third moving down from a larger vehicle.

More importantly, however, are two other stats. First, GM expects that up to 50 percent of Cruze buyers will be conquest customers from other brands. Roughly half of all Equinox buyers are coming to Chevy from other brands and Brooks says that the compact crossover is a good bellwether on which to base Cruze data. Second, GM intends to reach new customers with the Cruze, and not in new demographics either. Brooks says that like the Cobalt (and other compact cars for that matter), the key demographics are 20-29 year-olds, as well as empty-nesters, with the 35 to 45 year-old group passing by cars like this for ones with more space, size and utility. Instead, Chevy believes the Cruze will bring it increased market share in new geographic regions.

While Brooks does admit that the Cruze name will mean added marketing for Chevy, competing against legendary sales icons and household names like the Civic and Corolla, she insists a new name was needed for what is essentially the first global Chevy platform.

Along with an expected onslaught of traditional marketing, Russell says Chevy will look to more grassroots methods of communicating the different aspects of the Cruze to customers, knowing that in such a competitive segment they’ll have to bring the Cruze to buyers – likely with competitors in tow to give a car-to-car comparison.

For AutoGuide’s take on the all-new 2011 Chevy Cruze, you’ll have to wait for our First Drive, coming July 31st.

Get more Chevy Cruze news and info at


Chad says:

Sorry, but I have to call bunk on this. There are few people who strictly buy ONE car brand. I know no one like this. Everyone I know that has more than one car, the brands are all over the place. There is no such thing as “from other customer brands”. This is feel-good marketing meant for investors and insipid management. I have owned a Ford, a Jeep, a Hyundai and a Chevy. I look to own a Subaru in the future. No future company is stealing me from another company, as I lacked any loyalty from the start.

dan9867 says:

For some people, no matter how good a competitor’s car, they will still buy the inferior one. I believe GM will deliver on the Cruze, because all the car magazines I’ve read so far, indicate it will be superior than the competitors.

Jess B says:

I beg to differ on the brand loyalty. I am an avid walker with my dog and explore lots of neighborhoods around Washington D.C. and the Maryland suburbs. I have observed many household garages with two or three cars from the same brand and nothing else. The most popular pairings appear to be Honda Accord sedans, Odyssey minivans, and Pilot CUVs with a smattering of Civic hybrid sedans among those Honda pairings. I also see many pairings of Toyota Camry sedans, Sienna minivans, Highlander CUVs, 4Runner SUVs, and Sequoia SUVs. Starting to see more pairings of Priuses and Venzas among the Toyotas.

Check out my family’s driveway and you’ll see a 1998 Audi A4 2.8Q sedan, a 2004 Audi Allroad 2.7T wagon, and a 2008 Audi A6 3.2Q sedan. We previously had a 1999 A6 2.8Q sedan (totaled in a crash), a 2001 S4 sedan (got rid of it due to astronomically high insurance rates), and a 1996 A6 2.8Q Avant (replaced with the Allroad). We have had Audis for a long time now and enjoy top-notch dealership service.

We have considered Toyota Priuses (almost bought one, but got the Allroad instead), Volvos, Saabs, and Subarus, but none of them hold a candle to the Audis.

Tomas Rosales says:

I hope GM ain’t betting too much on this about others going to Chevy from other brands. They pretty much completely turned me off after they killed Saturn and worse, killed Pontiac. I have had 6 Pontiacs in my ;lifer so far and was looking forward to a new Firebird based on the new Camaro. Well… that and the problems I had with my former ’96 Buick Le Sabre ( GM’s Anti Theft System failure as the last straw!)I went out and bought myself a used ’93 Toyota Celica that I am very happy with. I’ve had the car for a month and get great mileage and the headliner does not sag, and the ac is still working and freezing! Even the pop up headlight on this almost 20 year old car are still working. So… GM…. good luck, but as far as being a future new car GM buyer… this consumer has had it with GM. Oh yes… when I start getting my pension, I’m buying another vintage, REAL PONTIAC!~

Gerald Bearman says:

Which? consumer magazine says that the UK CRUZE will have a poor resale value and recommends its readers to buy a Golf 0r Focus. . Maybe this is because of the rotten ride on poor UK roads no Watts Z-linkage suspension, poor quality plastic,very poor instrumentation, unable to read speedo higher MPH when wearing sunglasses,poor fuel consumption, clamed 41 mpg on auto Diesel but I only get 28 mpg. No separate trip odometer tied into inaccurate fuel display , no drivers vanity mirror. Annoying auto lights & rainsensing wipers not required. Front map lights should illuminate when opening doors etc. etc.Best features apperance, & full size spare wheel together with rear parking sensors on LT model. I will not be buying another Cruze.

Bobby says:

Gerald Bearman, you are a horrible liar and full of crap. The Cruze has received accolades in every market. Go back to your Toyota bosses and report to them that your smear campaign failed.

Tom from Palm harbor Florida says:

What amazes me is when I ride around I do not see any single car or car manufacturer dominating the market in the Tampa Bay area! We have people living here from all over the world so I think we have a good cross section of knowledge of motor vehicles. A Hyundai dealership is the highest volume dealership in the tri-county area and there are several Hyundai dealerships around.

herb montalbano says:

I drive a mercedes and tahoe but do advertising for Chevy dealers and groups….while I do have a somewhat loyalty to GM and Chevy and may be bias the Cruze smokes the competition..MPG wise…42 mpg…this saves 5 year owner nearly $1000 a year…safety…10 airbags versus just 4 for Corolla….warranty…40k better than corolla…and the looks and styling are much much better……