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Detroit show: Two Chevy visions for generation next

Sleek: Chevrolet bills the front-drive Tru 140S as an "affordable exotic" four-seater.

Chevrolet targets young buyers, and looks for feedback, with two new coupe concepts

10 Jan 2012

GENERAL Motors is attempting to bring a younger audience into its product development program with the unveiling of two new Chevrolet coupe concepts at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week.

Billed as a “vision for a new generation”, the rear-drive Code 130R and front-drive Tru 140S both aim to draw next-generation buyers toward the bow-tie brand, not just as observers and potential owners but as active participants who can provide feedback on a future small car they can “co-create” with the US auto giant.

GM North America president Mark Reuss said the concepts embody what GM has learnt from its newest customers’ opinions on exterior styling, performance and basic packaging, with the interior design still a work in progress until more direction is provided by the target audience.

“About 75 per cent of these consumers say brands should engage them and ask them for their opinions, so that’s exactly what we’re doing,” said Mr Reuss, a former chairman of Holden.

“We’ve already gone back to some of the same young people to show them these concepts and their reactions were very encouraging. Now we want more involvement from more people … I guess they call it crowd-sourcing.

137 center imageLeft: Chevrolet Code 130R concept coupe.

“The interiors for both concepts exist only as sketches and renderings – and that’s by design.

“We have ideas for the interiors, and even more ideas for how to approach connectivity and infotainment systems (but) we want further input from a broad sample before we lock in a certain approach.”

The exterior design of both four-seater concept cars incorporates GM’s belief that young buyers want coupe-like aesthetics but are not prepared to sacrifice on cabin roominess and practicality.

Shown in an all-new red metallic paint and with 20-inch matt anodised gold wheels, the ‘heritage performance-inspired’ Code 130R is believed to be based on a shortened version of the rear-drive platform underpinning the new Cadillac ATS that was also unveiled in Detroit this week.

GM says the performance heritage is underscored by the 130R’s aggressive front fascia, fender flares, straight body side and Chevy crossflag emblem.

The 130R is powered by a 110kW/200Nm 1.4-litre Ecotec turbocharged four-cylinder engine designed to work in tandem with eAssist micro-hybrid technology, which includes fuel-saving idle-stop and brake energy recuperation.

The 130R rests on a 2775mm wheelbase and measures 4396mm long, 1816mm wide and 1390mm high, with front/rear tracks of 1535mm and 1569mm respectively.

More a three-door hatch than a bona fide coupe, the Tru 140S is based on the Delta II platform underpinning the Chevrolet/Holden Cruze and Volt.

It is described as an “affordable exotic” sportscar that sets out to look “confident, exotic, expensive and fast” – but with a possible production price range in the low-$20,000s.

Finished in a new matte white exterior colour and riding on 21-inch Chevrolet Performance Chrome wheels, the Tru 140S uses the same 1.4-litre turbo-petrol engine as the Code 130R, offering engine idle-stop and estimated US highway fuel consumption of 40mpg (5.9L/100km).

The 140S sits on a 2743mm wheelbase but is slightly longer and wider than the 130R at 2743mm and 1878mm respectively, with a lower profile at 1360mm in overall height. Front/rear track is 1632mm.

Both concepts were developed at GM’s North America Advanced Design studio in Los Angeles under the watch of director Frank Saucedo, who said both body styles resonated with young customers who indicated they want a well-thought-out combination of functionality and sportiness.

Mr Saucedo said the interior reflected the fact that “this buyer prizes connectivity” and that the vehicle was fully integrated with personal devices so that it acts as a portable docking station.

“The interiors currently exist in 2D only,” he said. “This allows us the flexibility to continue the discussion and encourage more dialogue as we continue to develop these concepts.”

Senior manager for Chevrolet global marketing John McFarland said: “For the car company that can successfully engage this generation, there is a tremendous opportunity.

“At Chevrolet, we want to build authentic and meaningful relationships with these customers on their terms. We want to hear what they have to say, engage them in our design process, and give them what they want – not what we think they want.”

The Chevrolet concepts were shown alongside the 2013 Sonic RS, which is expected to be sold in Australia as the Barina SRi ‘hot hatch’ later this year.

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