Buick teases a second concept in as many years. Will GM’s premium brand build it?
Chevrolet’s US sales are up 4.9 percent through June, keeping pace with the market. Several new and updated products will roll out for the 2016 model year, heralding additional changes in the coming years.
The Chevrolet brand has long trailed Ford in overall sales and Toyota in retail sales, positions GM would like to overcome. The Chevrolet brand continues to provide a strong presence in more than 140 markets globally and the brand still accounts for at least two of every three GM models sold in the United States.
Chevrolet is aggressively overhauling its product line by bringing several new and improved models to the market in 2016. The best-selling Chevrolet is its full-size Silverado truck. And as this model enters its third model year, the pickup gets a more gutsy visage along with the wider application of its 8-speed automatic transmission.
The Silverado update comes a year sooner than expected and should provide the impetus for continued Chevrolet truck growth. That growth should spread to the Colorado as this midsize model begins offering a 2.8-liter turbo-diesel engine this fall.
Chevrolet Camaro fans have been delighted since the sports coupe returned for the 2010 model. Now it’s time to roll out a new generation model, one that will be underpinned by the same platform driving the Cadillac ATS and CTS. New for 2016 is a base turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. However, Auto Trends sees most buyers upgrading to the larger engines with some people deciding to wait an extra year for the Z/28’s return.
Perhaps the bow tie’s weakest link is in the midsize segment, where the Chevrolet Malibu is outsold by such major players as the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, and the Ford Fusion. Even the Hyundai Sonata outsells the Chevy, with the Kia Optima, Chrysler 200, and Mazda6 each offering stiff competition. The 2016 Malibu will resolve chief deficiencies, including a longer wheelbase to provide improved rear seating room. The Malibu will also get its first full-blown hybrid model, one that is expected to challenge the Honda Accord Hybrid’s 47 mpg rating.
Production of the next generation Chevrolet Cruze won’t start until February, thus the new model may be assigned with a 2017 model year designation. The Cruze is a strong player in the compact segment despite currently being limited to one body style and not having a true performance variant. However, the new model will add a hatchback body style and come in larger than its antecessor. Chevrolet will also replace the available 2.0-liter, turbo-diesel with one displacing at 1.6 liters. WardsAuto notes that the new four banger will be a quieter engine too.
Vehicle electrification remains a priority for GM despite flagging demand. The second generation Chevrolet Volt rolls out this fall and promises to provide up to 50 miles of electric-only range. The Volt will keep its gas generator, ensuring that range anxiety is never a valid concern.
Just as there are significant updates in progress for several Chevrolet models, there is some uncertainty with a few others.
As Chevrolet brings the all-electric Bolt to the market in 2017, the Chevrolet Spark EV will likely go away. However, the standard gas-powered Spark should remain. What we won’t see updated anytime soon is the subcompact Sonic, a model that will remain in production “as is” even as the segment erodes. Here, consumers are opting for larger cars and small crossovers, something Chevrolet offers in the Cruze and Trax, respectively.
Chevrolet will also slot a new crossover between the Equinox and the Traverse, probably by 2017. Rumors of a mid-engined Corvette are not going away, but that car’s appearance will probably come much later, rather sooner. Lastly, get ready to kiss the Chevrolet SS goodbye as this Australian-imported, Holden-derived sedan will likely die once GM stops production down under in two years.
So, will Chevrolet gain market share in the next year? Likewise, will its competitors be up to challenging Chevy’s stronger product line? The answers to both questions is likely “yes” with some of the weaker players falling further behind.
With Mitsubishi planning to close its lone US manufacturing plant, rumors that this small, Japanese manufacturer may pull out of the domestic market altogether are on the rise. If Mitsubishi does indeed quit, that leaves upwards of 100,000 customers looking at other mainstream brands, including Chevrolet, to satisfy their new car shopping needs.
Chevrolet product photos copyright the General Motors Company.