A BRIGHT SPARK AT CHEVROLET
DONE properly I think the multi-layered structure of having different brands at different price levels can work well for both the manufacturers and customers.
The classic case is the VW family which goes from Skoda and SEAT through VW and to Audi (OK, to Bentley and Lamborghini as well if you want!) and the trick to making it succeed is to give each brand a distinct feel.
It’s working too for Vauxhall and Chevrolet. I think it fair to say that when Chevrolet replaced Daewoo in January 2005 as the `value brand’ or `foundation brand’ in the relationship there was general confusion among car buyers. `Chevrolet? aren’t they big American cars?’ was a common refrain...
But over time and helped by the arrival of new models starting with the seven-seater Captiva SUV and followed last year by the excellent Cruze mid-size saloon, Chevrolet is establishing itself as a value brand but with cars that offer style as well as a lot of car for your money and I reckon that the launch of its latest model, the Spark, will only reinforce this.
The Spark replaces the popular little Matiz and as you can see, it looks a lot different, a lot more modern. I remember the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2007 where this was shown in concept form to gauge the public reaction along two other styling exercises and you needed no more than a quick glance to know that the Spark was going to be the one chosen for production.
It looks tremendous and is quite roomy, especially in the back. The interior is quite funky and I can see the Spark appealing to younger drivers. Value for money? Well, with prices starting at less than £7,500 it certainly has the right price profile to back up its `value-brand’ claim. There are two engine choices, a 1.0 and a 1.2 litre and both will average mid-50 mpg fuel consumption.
Next year marks the centenary of the company founded by Louis Chevrolet by when the entire model range that launched the brand here five years ago will have been replaced.
Chevrolet stands for value and style there’s not much confusion about that now, is there?