Within the highly successful General Motors brand line-up Chevrolet stands out as not only the most recognisable but also the largest selling brand within the organisation. In 2008 over 4 million new Chevrolets were registered making it the third largest selling global automotive brand for the year.
The Chevrolet nameplate is steeped in tradition and, as part of that tradition, is aimed at family oriented customers in whichever market it competes. Hallmarks of the brand are: reliability, build quality, low whole life costs, safety and above all affordability.
With manufacturing, design, and technical research facilities situated around the globe General Motors has wide-ranging access to a global pool of resources. This enables the company to tailor products for international markets rather than adapt its North American range for global requirements. A high level of flexibility in selecting Chevrolet model ranges for specific markets is achieved this way.
“When the decision was made to revitalise the Chevrolet brand in South Africa in 2003 comprehensive research showed that this market favoured products sourced from the Asia Pacific region,” says Malcolm Gauld, GMSA’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “In this region the Chevrolet brand is the responsibility of GM DAT in South Korea and GM Holden in Australia.” Both of these product sources offer vehicles in a preferred size group and price range with exceptional build quality.
“The revitalisation of the Chevrolet brand in South Africa began as a long-term strategy in 2003 with a programmed roll-out of a distribution network. Initially dealer representation was established in volume sales areas and expanded as volumes increased to a level that would sustain dealer viability. Attention was also given to the training requirements of this ‘new’ brand to ensure that customers derived the highest levels of satisfaction from their purchase.”
Chevrolet arrived back in South Africa supported by a network of 14 fully trained dealers that offered Chevrolet product as an extension of their GM franchised outlet. Within a year that number had trebled. Currently there are 126 Chevrolet dealers within the GM network offering full national representation for the brand. The effectiveness of this representation and the popularity of the brand can be measured against the fact that Chevrolet accounts for more than 70% of passenger vehicles sold by GM in South Africa.
With the growth in dealer representation has come an increased spread in the Chevrolet model range. Initially focused on the small car, entry-level market, the Chevrolet brand now covers a wide spectrum of the market.
The Spark and Aveo models cater for the lower end of the market, while the Captiva has rapidly made a name for itself in the medium size SUV sector. At the top end of the scale Chevrolet is the only brand to offer an all out V8 muscle car in the form of the Lumina Sedan and Ute, the latter a favourite amongst recreational pick-up users. The new Cruze opens up new opportunities for GMSA in the C segment for compact sedans where the company has to date not had full representation.