Cars Reach Highest Share of Chevrolet Sales Since 1991

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DETROIT, July 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Chevrolet total sales are expected to increase 15 percent during the first half of 2011 fueled by the passenger car sales approaching their highest percentage of Chevrolet sales in two decades.

Chevrolet car sales are expected to be up 23 percent for the first six months of the year, when June sales are reported on Friday. Trucks, utilities, and crossovers are expected to be up 9 percent over the first half of 2010.

Chevrolet cars have outsold combined sales of trucks, crossovers and utilities in April, May and June of this year – and are expected to represent 47 percent of the brand’s sales for the first half of 2011. The last time cars led Chevrolet’s sales for three consecutive months was in May, June, and July of 1991. That year, cars represented 52 percent of Chevrolet sales.

“Chevrolet has always been known for building great trucks,” said Alan Batey, U.S. vice president, Chevrolet Sales and Service. “Today, we are in the middle of transforming the brand with a strong lineup of cars that match the appeal of our trucks and crossovers.

“That transformation is clearly bringing new customers to the brand – as passenger cars and four-cylinder engines are driving Chevrolet’s growth this year,” Batey said. “We expect that momentum to accelerate as Chevrolet introduces three new cars over the next two years – the Sonic, Spark, and next-generation Malibu.”

Much of Chevrolet’s growth for 2011 can be attributed to the successful launch of the all-new Chevrolet Cruze compact car, combined with the continued success of the Malibu midsize sedan.

Both cars were among the top 10 best-selling vehicles in the industry in May, when the Cruze was also the best-selling compact car in the United States. The success of the Cruze has increased Chevrolet’s share of the compact-car segment from 9.5 a year ago to 11.6 percent for the first five months of 2011, even as the segment size has grown by 19 percent.

For the first six months of the year, total Malibu sales are expected to increase 17 percent, while retail sales are on track to exceed last years’ record pace by 4 percent.

Consumer demand for the Cruze and Malibu has helped Chevrolet grow in traditionally strong car markets. Based on the latest retail registration data for 2011, Chevrolet is exceeding the industry’s growth in:  

  • California, where Chevrolet is up 42 percent, compared to 25 percent for the industry
  • Florida, where Chevrolet is up 31 percent, compared to 19 percent for the industry
  • New York, where Chevrolet is up 36 percent, compared to 16 percent for the industry

The second factor in Chevrolet’s growth for 2011 has been the improving performance, refinement, and fuel economy of the brand’s four-cylinder engines. For the first six months of 2011, an estimated 46 percent of Chevrolet buyers chose a fuel-efficient four-cylinder model. That is double the percentage of four-cylinders consumers bought five years ago.

“Chevrolet’s investment in advanced engine technology is reflected in the increased popularity of our four-cylinder models,” said Batey. “These technologies offer the performance and refinement drivers expect from Chevy in smaller engines that deliver the fuel efficiency they want.”

With the average price of a gallon of gasoline more than a dollar higher than last year, consumers are moving out of V-8 powered SUVs into V-6 powered crossovers like the Traverse, and from V-6 powered cars and crossovers into fuel-efficient four-cylinder models, such as Cruze, Malibu, and Equinox.

For example, the 2011 Equinox features an Ecotec 2.4L engine, rated at 182 horsepower, and 172 lb-ft of torque and an EPA-estimated 32 mpg highway – more than even the Ford Escape Hybrid. The previous-generation 2008 Equinox had a 3.4L V-6 that delivered a comparable 185 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque with 24 mpg highway. 

“Chevrolet’s fuel-efficient engines and strong passenger car line up make us much less vulnerable to fluctuating gas prices than we were just a few years ago,” said Batey. “We believe Chevy’s combination of economy, performance, and style will continue to resonate with today‘s customers – no matter what the price of gas.”

About Chevrolet

Founded in Detroit in 1911, Chevrolet celebrates its centennial as a global automotive brand with annual sales of about 4.25 million vehicles in more than 120 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. The Chevrolet portfolio includes iconic performance cars such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long-lasting pickups and SUVs such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers such as Spark, Cruze, Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers “gas-friendly to gas-free” solutions including Cruze Eco and Volt. Cruze Eco offers 42 mpg highway while Volt offers 35 miles of electric, gasoline-free driving and an additional 344 miles of extended range. Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

SOURCE General Motors

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