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2011 Chevrolet Cruze – Click above for high-res image gallery

Joel Ewanik was recently named General Motors' global marketing chief, so we sat down with him and Buick marketing honcho Roger McCormack at the Detroit Auto Show to find out how they plan to get more attention for GM's brands.
  • For both men, the priority is to get people in seats since GM appears to realize that it can't just rely on people to trust its marketing. "We're making great cars – the Cruze was the first car in its segment to get five stars under the new NHTSA standards," Ewanick said, "we need to get people in sitting in the cars." For Buick, McCormack said as well that his brand will focus on "Activities to get people in cars, sitting in cars, experiencing cars."
  • On the subject of settling Cadillac's advertising, Ewanick said, "With Cadillac we're trying to create some dissonance, putting them in ski resorts to remind people that Cadillac is a great brand for their snow activities with the all-wheel-drive sports wagon and CTS, SRX and Escalade." To that end, the brand has done deals with the Northstar ski resort in Lake Tahoe and they're doing one with Vail, in Colorado.
  • The scope of the "Chevy Runs Deep" campaign is being broadened from its historical associations to current environmental and community efforts. "I wanted to do wind farms and solar panels, something sexy," said Ewanick. But after talking to people in the field he decided on more community-minded efforts. "Most schools aren't insulated, and if we weatherized them properly they could save on heating." A month ago Chevrolet released a commercial touting the initiatives: buy a Chevrolet and the company will invest in programs that "over the next few years" will reduce carbon emissions by 8 million metric tons.
  • The Volt is the brand's best halo car: "People aware of the Volt are more likely to buy into a Chevrolet – it's selling the Cruze, the Malibu and heavy duty pickups because the engineering sells the brand." Speaking of the Cruze, expect to see a lot of it this year. "We don't have a lot of big launches for the year, so the messages will focus on Cruze, month in, month out, all year long."
  • Both McCormack and Ewanick described Buick as "more approachable luxury." When asked if that meant Buick was no longer gunning for Lexus, McCormack said "Lexus is still very much a key competitor, as well as Acura, Infiniti, Audi in some instances and Volkswagen in some instances." The key to that appears to be not in exact head-to-head competition (a la the CTS), but finding some in-between space to occupy. "What we do very well is play in luxury mainstream," McCormack said, "positioned betweeen luxury and compact luxury, above mainstream compact. We bake in all the luxury, amenities and craftsmanship, deliver all things the consumer values but the consumer feels like they got a good deal."
  • If that's the Buick formula, "the same formula as on the LaCrosse," the point now is to spread it over a wider range of vehicles like the Regal and Verano – and that will also reduce the average age of the Buick buyer. "Look, the age is the age, but it's a reflection of the segments. We started with the Lucerne, LaCrosse and Enclave, all of those compete in segments that will get an older consumer."
  • As for Buick's ad frontman, "Kevin Bacon is the Buick spokesperson," Ewanick said, "and we don't see that changing."

2011 Chevrolet Cruze 1LT
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Photos copyright © 2011 Steven J. Ewing / AOL


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 45 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Any plans for a Cruze SS?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I would love to buy one of those Cruze's, just one problem, THE PRICE! For a fully loaded one, it's just a grand or so less than a Malibu LT. I just bought a Malibu LS, and we love it! If they can lower the price so it can compete, I would not hesitate to get one!
      • 4 Years Ago
      You mean like these monthly UK sales figures before even being released in the US?
      http://green.autoblog.com/2010/07/27/fuel-efficient-chevy-cruze-tops-270-000-sales-coming-to-u-s-th/
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wait, I thought the new Malibu was coming out this year? And the Spark isn't a big launch either? I think this guy is talking out of his a$$ personally.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lose the plastic fill panel behind the rear window. Nothing says "we had to cut corners" like that little panel. Plus - a well equipped Cruze isn't an inexpensive car, but the new Sonic has a piece of glass in that location?

      when people start cross-shopping these cars, I agree that the Focus and others are going to out-"little-detail" the GM offering.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Their gonna need to (refer to title)

      The new Focus is about to bash down GMs midsize door...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Some of you would take a historically unreliable GM product over established reliable brands? All because of a marketing push, fancy surfaces etc? Same w/Chrysler. These people have given buyers a huge F.U. for decades...and you suckers come running back. What sucks is I'll have to wait a few years before I can officially laugh at you, & we all know why.

      Until then.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I have had 13 GM vehicles in the 19 years I have been driving. I have a truck for towing and vacations and a car for commuting my 135 mile drive to and from work a day...6 days a week. In that time I have had one instance when a vehicle left me sit...a lifter in my engine broke, it was a faulty metal part that broke because of a crack in the metal. For you to say (Camel Larry) that GM is historically unreliable I beg to differ...not based on what someone said but by what I have seen and have owned. Three of those cars an 88 Bonneville (304,000 miles), 1989 Grand Prix (279,000 miles) and my 1993 Cavalier 4 cylinder (351,000 miles) were pre 1990...back when GM made crappy cars..right? The only reason I don't have anything over 100,000 miles truck wise is because I trade yearly because of the resale value. I currently own along with my 2011 Silverado a 1996 Monte Carlo with 178,000 that I drive 135 miles a day. Quality perception is based upon what people have experienced...so don't tell me GM makes unreliable cars and trucks...because there are very few units out there that one can consider unreliable. On a side note, I have a delivery driver with a 2006 Express van (Chevrolet) with 615,000 miles on it..he has replaced wheel bearings in all 4 wheels twice and has gone through 2 water pumps, and three sets of tires...sounds dependable to me.
      • 4 Years Ago
      lol they are trying to milk as much out of it before the focus comes out
      • 4 Years Ago
      Considering how mediocre this product is overall, and how strong the Focus and Elantra will be, Chevrolet has to do something. After sitting in the Snuze, I was left with a feeling of "what is all the hype about". The vehicle was NOT roomy - particularly in the back (which many have lied about as being roomy). I'm six foot - positioning front seat for my comfort and then going to the back seat, my legs were pressed into the back of the front seat - that is NOT a roomy car! There was little difference in the comfort in a Snuze and a Fiesta which I sat in - which was far roomier than I was led to believe. The only improvement in the Snuze over the Cobore before it was the "apparent" quality of the materials, though the dashboard vinyl/fabric inserts will sun bleach and will dry rot in less than 5 years without fail.

      When you factor in the Snuze's lack of performance, this vehicle is going to have to have significant upgrades. I am most certain that the Focus will not be a slug in performance and the new one I saw was incredible looking on the inside and made the Snuze in the next booth over look really old by comparison. The new Elantra sat better and looked amazing as well - a stunning black model with beautiful tan leather seats and black interior panels and trim.

      I'm sorry but the Snuze is merely another shining example of "good enough" in a market that demands "the best you can build". And the Snuze has quickly been relegated to at best fourth best in the class - even the Nissan Versa is superior in room and equal in performance - and while the exterior of that car is wretched, the interior is amazingly roomy - and that is the benchmark for the class.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Good luck selling your line of crap Laser..all you are selling is you are full of a red bar. The Cruze is the real deal..and it's a very well built, up to date, roomy, good gas mileage compact car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This guy actually tested the Cruze and honestly came away unimpressed. Why does every GM-related post that isn't glowing get voted down to oblivion? He was just being honest and giving his opinion, to which he's entitled. Biased much??
        • 4 Years Ago
        I do think that GM needs to put in gasoline direct injection (GDI) into that 1.4-liter turbocharged engine at the first opportunity. That will allow increased engine power (possibly as high as 155 bhp!) with no increase in fuel consumption, so that new Cruze won't feel "flatfooted" compared to the new Focus and Elantra models.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It it habitual, the lying I mean.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Bovine fecal matter all the way. I own a Cruze and one of my passengers whom is 6'2" found it impressively roomy while seated in back.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Laser, while I disagree with most of your post, I do agree that the Cruze backseat is smaller and the Fiesta back seat larger than I was led to believe. Overall, though, the Cruze seems like a decently attractive and decently solid car. I'd take it over a Corolla or Jetta, at least. Probably even a Civic, too.

        Jdvm, the Elantra actually IS out...at least here in Colorado. I've seen two so far. I don't know if Hyundai has stealth launches or what, but I've definitely seen two. Each time I did a double-take to make sure I wasn't confusing a Sonata for it!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I must say that I think the Cruze is not a bad looking vehicle, considering its a low budget Chevy. Its certainly better looking that the Cobalt and the Cavalier.

      That being said, I certainly understand the comments above about it not being able to compete against the Focus. GM is simply not capable of producing good vehicles in every segment. The CTS, Trucks, some SUVs, new Regal, are good. But they could never get small cars, "family" sedans, or minivans right. And those are the vehicles they have to get right to succeed.

      Two things GM does best: (1) screw the first year buyer and (2) pull the plug on a product when it is refined. Examples: Alante, Reatta, G8, ...

      • 4 Years Ago
      Sounds like GM will help Ford's efforts to "Focus".... on the new and superior Ford Focus!
      • 4 Years Ago
      30 and 40 years ago..ever hold a grudge??
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