Within the General Motors family, the familiar Chevrolet brand is unique. In as much as the present product lineup is quite diverse, the Chevrolet portfolio probably manages to address every conceivable demographic in North America generally, Canada, specifically.
From small, sub-compact cars such as the Spark to the full-size Suburban SUV, or the sheer power of the Corvette to the efficiencies of the Bolt.
Laura Pacey is Chevrolet’s brand director in Canada and we caught up with her for an update during the recent Canadian International AutoShow (CIAS).
In short, Ms. Pacey believes that the current vehicles offered by Chevrolet tend to respond, in part, to the needs of Canadians on a regional basis. “For example, in Quebec, sales of small, urban-style modes of transportation tend to do well. Move out west to Calgary, Alberta, really, and it’s all about pick-up trucks and the utility they can bring to a user—regardless of whether it’s used in a business or, owned by a weekend warrior type who just likes the look of a truck that can offer some utility if ever called upon. In Vancouver, it’s a bit of everything from city-type cars to smaller crossovers. Chevrolet can fulfil those needs every time, without any compromise. And consider electric vehicles (EVs) such as the ground-breaking Bolt and the extended range Volt: they tend to be more popular in those regions with a supportive infrastructure.”
Ms. Pacey is quite proud of the fact that Chevrolet can provide most customers with an eco-type solution, depending upon a customer’s requirements. That includes all electric, hybrid, plug-in and yes, even, to a point, diesel and also fuel efficient gasoline powered internal combustion engines.
“Chevrolet is General Motors mainstream brand—it’s the heart of the organization. As a brand, it’s considered the embodiment of some of the best General Motors technology while generally fulfilling a role as a value brand, actually more of an accessible brand if you will, to Canadians,” states Ms. Pacey.
In 2017, the Chevrolet brand had a very good year with a total of just over 171,000 vehicles sold in Canada. Not quite the halcyon days of 2004/05, but a definitive and continued move upward and forward.
Is there a particular vehicle offered today that is a standout for the brand—and why?
“Well, this probably will not come as a surprise to anyone, but it has to be the Bolt EV,” Ms. Pacey stated firmly, smiling. “This vehicle has surprised a great deal of vehicle-shopping consumers in Canada. Not too many years ago, one in three Canadian households were familiar with the Chevrolet name, the brand. In recent years, that has dropped to about three out of every 10. The Chevrolet brand recognition has eroded. With the introduction of the Bolt, the brand’s perception has now changed in the most positive way.”
“Today, we now find that consumers who may not have considered an alternative fuel vehicle before are drawn to the Bolt—for different reasons. It has a more than acceptable range of under 400 kilometres. The way the vehicle has been designed, it might even be considered more crossover than sedan—or even hatchback. It hits all the marks. Frankly, the press Tesla has received has also indirectly benefitted the Bolt. Not to denigrate a competitor, but the Bolt is available now. Not at a date sometime in the future. Tesla has drawn welcome attention to the whole EV market. To the actual personification of technology. The Chevrolet Bolt is our brand leaning in and moving forward—throughout our product line.”
To conclude, from Chevrolet’s standpoint, “Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are no longer something to be discussed with hushed reverence. The Bolt EV has provided Chevrolet with the opportunity to tout our engineering, our technology across the brand’s portfolio.”
“Point of fact: on a per capita basis, Chevrolet Canada has sold more Bolts and Volts combined than the much bigger market to the south, the United States of America!”
“We like to think of ourselves as being able to offer most consumers the ability to achieve accessible innovation. Chevrolet products tend to be overextended in terms of content—we’re putting tech into vehicles that customers may not realize they want or even need—but it’s available in the event you might. Is everyone aware of on-board 4G LTE Wi-Fi? Once you try it, you’ll not soon forget. Now, more than before, as a technology-oriented brand, Chevrolet need take a back seat to no-one.”
David Taylor is an independent automotive lifestyle writer, producer, and editor based in Barrie, Ontario who is fascinated by innovation and technology which enhance the overall driving experience. He’s also a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) and is a Director of that organization’s Canadian Car of the Year Award. Follow him on Twitter @Omemeeozzie or on Instagram @hugoscaroftheweek.