Our latest instalment of "Questions to the industry" sees GMSA respond to your questions for Chevrolet. Here's what they had to say.
With the price of petrol being as high as it is, is there still a market for big capacity, thirsty V8s in South Africa? Are enough Luminas being sold in South Africa to make these vehicles viable for GMSA? If sales are regarded as being poor, what assurance do we have that GM won't withdraw the Lumina from South Africa?
Sure, there is a large choice of 'big' engines available in the South African market at present. It is also a bit of a myth/urban legend that V8's are still the old gas guzzlers that they used to be. The new Alloytech 6.0 V8 engine in the new Lumina sedan and Ute is much lighter than the previous engine and is more fuel efficient than its predecessor. Also engine emissions have been reduced dramatically.
Obviously, its all in the way that your drive a big engined car and the average fuel consumption is certainly surprising those customers who are finding figures of around 12.8 l/100 km on an urban cycle In South Africa, fairly easy to achieve.
The top of the range Lumina product is not only viable to GMSA and its retailers, but also for the global GM source plant initiative where we are able to source the best products worldwide for our particular market.
Sales for the new Lumina, in this extremely competitive segment of the market are pegged at around 50 units per month. In this sub segment this represents healthy market share, which is perfect as a niche product that extends the Chevrolet brand image. So, as sales are good and waiting lists are the order of the day, demand and reaction from the public is superb, there is no reason at all at this stage to even consider withdrawal for any reason. We may even extend the product range...
What brand image is GMSA creating for Chevrolet? To many, most Chevs are nothing more than rebadged Daewoos while, as desirable as the Lumina is, it's only a rebadged Holden Monaro. What is being done to reassure consumers about the future of Chev in South Africa, and backing that up with "true, undiluted" products?
Chevrolet is the "people's car" for all South Africans. South Africa as a country has experienced a wonderful change and the "braaivleis, rugby, sunny skies" brand image for Chevrolet has also changed. From SA's most affordable passenger car in the market today, the Chevrolet Spark, to the Aveo hatch and sedan, the larger Optra and right up to the Lumina sedan and Ute. Chevrolet has a vehicle to meet the needs of the entire South African motoring public. Chevrolet prides itself on the key brand image pillars of practical motoring, value for money (initial purchase price and ongoing overall cost of ownership), quality ( winner of numerous independent Synovate/JD Powers quality awards). With the introduction of the new Lumina and GM's first SUV - the Captiva - Chevrolet will extend the brand pillars to more Fun and Excitement as these all new products are certainly exciting and fun to drive both on and off road respectively.
GM purchased the old "Daewoo" Korean company some three years ago. At this time a new GM company was formed and aptly called: General Motors Daewoo Automotive Technologies, or more commonly GMDAT. The entire new product range being built in GM's Korean factory today, is under the GM global production footprint - so all products available in South Africa are real Chevrolets. This global footprint allows Chevrolet to source the best quality product for South Africa conditions and to consistently bring these products that meet the needs of our customers and the brand image pillars, to market.
These new Chevrolet products are now sold in over 100 countries around the world. Chevrolet is GM's global brand - in fact, one in every 16 cars sold in the world today is a Chevrolet. So GMSA, as part of the global GM network, means that Chevrolet is definitely here to stay. Watch this space for more exciting products to join the growing Chevrolet product range...
What are the chances of Chevrolet bringing halo cars like the Corvette and Camaro to SA? And what about bringing some of the large SUVs, or even a big bakkie, to South Africa?
Based on the above comments - very good indeed. Both the Corvette and Camaro, sister of the popular Chevrolet Lumina, are on GMSA's current product plan. However a word of caution is that although we are in line for these products, it may not necessarily mean that these models will ultimately make it into our GMSA product range. Based on sound business planning and the importation of fully built up units, it is important that we are able to bring these amazing products to market in line with Chevrolet's brand image pillars and, more importantly, that Chevrolet can support and satisfy all customers throughout the country on an ongoing basis.
What, if any, is the official NCAP rating for the entire model range sold in SA? Do they mirror the previous Daewoo range or has some different engineering process been adopted for the current re-badged range?
The new Chevrolet product, which is being produced in GM?s factory in Korea, utilises all GM's tried, proven and successful global manufacturing techniques. As this Chevrolet product is sold in over 100 countries around the world, it makes sense to carry out the NCAP safety test in those countries where the most volume will be sold. GM, as a truly global manufacturer, also needs to ensure that the global manufacturing footprint is exactly that - a global business!
As a result, each new product is tested in different countries. The NCAP system in Europe is different to that of the US and Australia, so Chevrolet product MAY INDEED meet and exceed the five star rating in some countries and yet may achieve only four stars in others.
Interestingly, US NCAP sets out to test a set of conditions that mirror our own in South Africa more closely than the requirements for Europe where traffic congestion and narrow roads are the order of the day. We remain convinced that although the US NCAP is different, it is not inferior to the Euro NCAP and, in fact, both play an important role in improving safetly in motor vehicles. Chevrolet engineers and designers will continue to use feedback from around the globe to continue to raise the bar even further based on real life accident conditions and not only theoretical laboratory situations.
Although the level of electronic gadgets on some models is fairly high when compared with its rivals, is Chevrolet planning to introduce more luxury features into it ranges, like cruise control and steering wheel mounted controls?
Luxury features of a year ago, have become the standard of today. This is how much the vehicle market has changed over the last couple of years and customer expectation in South Africa is primarily aimed at more safety features. Following on top of this, is the need for more refined and up market features like cruise control and steering wheel mounted radio controls.
Chevrolet is proud of the high level of comfort and safety not only engineered into each of the products, but also that airbags and ABS are available on most products. In the unlikely event of an accident, these two items have statistically been proven to save most lives. As a value for money product, Chevrolet ALLOWS THE CUSTOMER TO CHOOSE THEIR LEVEL OF SAFETY SPECIFICATION, by having three models available in each range. The L model being the most basic, moving through the mid spec LS to the highly specced LT models.
Future product design and new products are being driven by consumer demand and Chevrolet research assists GMSA in selecting final requirements to meet the mass market requirements. The new Lumina product has both cruise control and steering wheel mounted controls and the new Captiva has steering wheel mounted cruise control and radio/MP3 - all at a very affordable price.
That's why we say to all of our customers and prospective customers - CHEVROLET FOREVER!
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