• Jun 6th 2011 at 1:54PM
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2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco – Click above for high-res image gallery

For the first time in half a decade, a Chevrolet topped the compact vehicle list in sales in the U.S. The Chevy Cruze, with recorded sales of 22,711 units in May, beat the compact competition. Alan Batey, U.S. vice-president of Chevrolet sales and service, says that:
The launch of the Cruze has exceeded all of our expectations. Today, consumer consideration for the Cruze has increased to the point that it is on many of the same shopping lists as established compact cars, like Civic and Corolla.
The Cruze was considered, apparently, and won. Here's a look at May 2011 sales in the compact vehicle segment: In May, fuel-efficient, four-cylinder vehicles – including the Cruze, Equinox and Malibu – accounted for 51 percent of Chevrolet's sales, up from 36 percent in May of 2010 and double the take rate of vehicles equipped with four-cylinder engines back in 2006.


2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco
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  • 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco
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Photos copyright ©2011 Zach Bowman / AOL

[Source: General Motors]
Show full PR text
Chevrolet Cruze Leads Compact Car Sales for May
Second consecutive month as Top 10 U.S. best-seller


2011-06-02

DETROIT – For the first time in five years, an American car is the best selling compact car in the United States. The Chevrolet Cruze recorded 22,711 segment-topping sales in May, and achieved its second consecutive appearance on the Top 10 across all U.S. auto segments.

The Cruze also has helped Chevrolet gain share in the compact segment – which represented 16 percent of total U.S. sales in May – and accelerated the brand's shift to fuel-efficient four-cylinder engines.

In May, fuel-efficient models four-cylinder vehicles – including Cruze, Equinox and Malibu – accounted for 51 percent of Chevrolet retail sales. That is up from 36 percent in May a year ago, and doubles the rate of four-cylinder sales five years ago.

"The launch of the Cruze has exceeded all of our expectations," said Alan Batey, U.S. vice president, Chevrolet Sales and Service. "Cruze launched as a brand-new vehicle, with a brand-new name, in one of the most competitive segments in the industry.

"Today, Consumer consideration for the Cruze has increased to the point that it is on many of the same shopping lists as established compact cars, like Civic and Corolla," he said. "This is an incredible accomplishment, even considering the industry's disruptions caused by the tragedy in Japan."

May 2011 Sales

Cruze
22,711

Focus
22,303

Elantra
20,006

Civic
18,341

Corolla
16,895


The Cruze has increased Chevrolet's share of the compact car segment, even as the segment grew by 19 percent year to date. For 2011, Chevrolet accounted for 11.9 percent of the compact car market, up from 9.5 percent a year ago.

Much of the success of the Cruze can be attributed to its exterior styling and fuel efficiency, which were ranked as the top reasons for purchase in an internal survey of more than 500 Cruze buyers.

Karen Peters of Hemet, Calif., traded in her 2005 Toyota Corolla for a Cruze after seeing the Cruze in a television ad.

"I just fell in love with the Cruze the first time I saw it," she said. "There was nothing wrong with my Corolla, and I wasn't even looking for a new car. But something about the Cruze just stuck with me. I finally had to go for a test drive, just to get it out of my system. All it took was a short test drive, and I fell in love with the Cruze."

Like Peters, nearly 51 percent of Cruze buyers are new to Chevrolet, either trading in a non-GM vehicle or purchasing outright – suggesting they were either adding a vehicle to the household or that the Cruze was their first new car. For 2011, Cruze has brought more than 40,000 of these "conquest" buyers – second only to the Silverado full-size pickup for attracting new customers to the brand.

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.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      Spiffster
      • 8 Months Ago
      The Cavalier and Cobalt were a joke. On the other hand the Cruze is truly a world class car, I especially love the interior. Im in the market for a new car, but Im gonna wait for the Focus EV to go on sale. If GM had plans to bring the Cruze EV to the states, they may have made an additional sale, but this time Im going with a Ford.
        FunkyBanana
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Spiffster
        I am waiting on the Focus EV as well, I really hope it is priced right. and less than the Nissan since it shares so much with a standard Focus. If Ford can pull off a 19K (after rebates) EV I would be very impressed. $25K after rebates (and performance on par with Nissan) would get me to pull the trigger. Anyone on topic - the Cruze is a nice little car. A HUGE lead for GM and finally a competitive small car that is more than the low cost leader - its actiually desirable!
          • 8 Months Ago
          @FunkyBanana
          Judging by the price of the Transit Connect EV I would guess that Ford will be looking for a $20k premium on the ICE Focus. Their target will likely be to be competitive with the Volt rather than the Leaf, and to play the patriotism card to get Government sales.
          Peter
          • 8 Months Ago
          @FunkyBanana
          It would be good if GM brings the EV version of this puppy to the states. Doing the math is probably similar to my estimate for the Focus EV The ICE MRP's $16,270 - $22,765 throw in the 23 kilowatt-hour lithium ion pack @ $500 per KWh = $12,000 We will call the savings of the ICE and the cost of the power electronics a wash for rough reckoning Certainly it should be able to be competitive with the Leaf / i
          Spiffster
          • 8 Months Ago
          @FunkyBanana
          I certainly hope Ford is competitive in price with the Nissan LEAF, if they are shooting to be competitive with the Volt then I will not purchase the Focus EV. I would expect the Focus to be a little pricier than the LEAF, perhaps in the $33-35k range.
      Eideard
      • 8 Months Ago
      So, uh,Chevy outperformed Ford by 0.018%. Woo-hoo.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I currently am getting 36MPG averaged over the last 1000 miles. I do 75% freeway and 25% city.
      carney373
      • 8 Months Ago
      I've been struck by how sharp and cool the Cruze's front face looks. Kudos to the designers on that. Shame it's not flex fuel though. Fuel economy is pointless in gasoline-only cars since even if we all drive little fuel sippers and end up buying less gasoline OPEC can just cut production to match, spike up the per-unit, price and force us all to pay just as much as before for less gasoline as we did before for more. And in point of fact we DON'T end up buying less. From 1976 to 1990 our fleet average MPG went from 13 to 20, a huge increase, but despite being able to go the same distance on much less fuel our annual gasoline consumption did not go down; rather it went UP from 89 to 103 billion gallons. Economic growth, population growth, and human nature create new cars, new drivers, and more miles driven per household, per capita, and overall -- too fast for even the most drastic fuel economy improvements to keep up with, let alone overtake. The only way out is alternative cleaner motive power, not austerity while remaining locked - in to gasoline-only.
        lne937s
        • 8 Months Ago
        @carney373
        Also of note is that our increased ethanol consumption in the US has lead to no reduction in oil consumption.
      tantareanujellob
      • 8 Months Ago
      Civic and Corolla are looking more and more antiquated. The new Civic actually looks older than the old civic.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 8 Months Ago
      That's cool that the initial sales blitz is putting them ahead. Hopefully this is a good car and the trend continues. Maybe GM could be convinced to continue to focus on the smaller offerings.
      lne937s
      • 8 Months Ago
      I'm not sure how green this is, especially with the Cruze routinely showing relatively poor fuel economy (18-24 mpg) in comparison tests with the other cars on the list. http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/1107_best_selling_compact_sedan_comparison/cruze_ltz_rs_and_focus_titanium_specs.html http://www.caranddriver.com/var/ezflow_site/storage/original/application/885057c7884d97ed3451c1910b11662d.pdf However, there is a lot of movement in the segment and industry as a whole, so I wouldn't draw too strong of conclusions from recent sales.
        montoym
        • 8 Months Ago
        @lne937s
        I don't put the blame on the Cruze or Chevy directly. I put the blame on the turbo largely. Turbocharged engines will produce lower mileage when pushed harder, it's common sense. The engine is taking in more air than its displacement allows because it's being force-fed in there. Therefore, the engine has to burn more fuel to compensate for the larger volume of air. For instance, the 1.4L turbo in the Cruze has a max boost pressure of about 1bar(based on a couple of links I found). That's 1bar on top of the approximately 1bar air pressure we live with on a daily basis. So, that 1.4L engine is really taking in a similar amount of air as a 2.8L N/A engine (more displacement than any of the other N/A cars tested) and is burning an equivalent amount of fuel necessary to ignite that larger amount of air as well. Under lower loads, this isn't an issue since the turbo is not pushing much additional air at all, but as you push the car harder and demand more power, the economy will plummet quickly. You combine that with the typically heavy feet of an auto journalist and you get unspectacular mileage. Note what C&D said about the Cruze when they first tested it, - "There’s no dithering the throttle in the Cruze. Your foot is basically planted eternally, and the engine consequently hangs at busy-buzzy revs, gear after gear, straining until it bangs off the 6500-rpm limiter." - a bit lower was this, - "Also average was an observed 25 mpg, a little disappointing for such a midget engine. As we mentioned, the little Ecotec, at least under our whip, spent an awful lot of time zinging—and thus drinking." - That means they were on the boost quite often in that car yet they achieved better mileage in that test than in the comparison test you linked to. So, how much harder did they have to drive it(after already admitting to driving it hard the first time) during the comparison test in order to drop the mileage by 7mpg(28%)? The Cruze is the only turbo engine in either of the links you provided. It is telling to me that in the C&D test, the Cruze turbo achieved mileage figures not far off from what the 2 cars with the largest engines achieved. Again, that turbo engine was acting like a larger engine and achieved comparable mileage as well. Makes complete sense to me. Had the cars been driven less aggressively or if there were more highway driving, or any number of other things, I have no doubt that the Cruze would produce much better numbers. Yes, I agree that the others would as well, but I believe that the Cruze would be closer to the upper level of the mileage spectrum. The issue with turbocharged engines is that they are really Jekyll and Hyde. They can just as easily provide you with great economy as they can poor economy. As the owner of a turbocharged car, I can vouch for this. I can easily match or exceed the EPA figures driving normally, but driven aggressively, single digit mileage is quite possible with my 4cyl turbo.
        fairfireman21
        • 8 Months Ago
        @lne937s
        Motortrend's average for the cruze was 23.8 mpg, so how is the highest they got was 24 and the lowest was 18. That would be n average of 21 mpg.
          lne937s
          • 8 Months Ago
          @fairfireman21
          It is important to note there the other cars going through the same comparison tests tended to also underperform their EPA ratings, but the Cruze tended to underperform more than the rest, with worse observed fuel economy than most of its competitors. Cars like the Mazda 3 that are EPA rated significantly lower and have more powerful engines match the Cruze in the C&D test in observed fuel economy.
          lne937s
          • 8 Months Ago
          @fairfireman21
          I put in 2 links: Car and Driver got 18 mpg on their test. I rounded the MT test results up to 24 mpg.
      Marco Polo
      • 8 Months Ago
      For whatever the reason, it's good to see US car makers returning to being competitive. Increased sales of ICE models generate sufficient profits to subsidise and develop EV's, and other post-oil technologies.(FCV..etc). These vehicle sales increase US prosperity, and employ American workers throughout a whole range of US supporting industries. GM and Ford are to be congratulated! In GM's case the US taxpayer is rewarded as GM repays government loans.
      Spec
      • 8 Months Ago
      Congrats to GM!
      • 8 Months Ago
      Beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder. I like the quasi BMW views from the back and side and I think the the front end styling looks fierce. I've had my 6 speed standard eco Cruze for 7 months now and I love the car. Averaged about 46 mpg through a 75/25 split of highway/city driving. On exclusive highway driving I can break 50mpg. No crazy drafting stuff or granny driving either! If I wish to let the milage suffer and crank the turbo, I can easily snap heads around. Handling is tight and road noise non-existent. I personally felt that the Focus interior was less desirable when compared to the Cruze and the entertainment/Nav control was to busy. The entertainment/Nav sentiment has been echoed in some reviews I've read. I think each car has strengths and It's nice to see both GM and ford putting out high quality compact vehicles!
      Jefferson Starship
      • 8 Months Ago
      This is literally the ugliest car in it's class. It looks like a 2001. The new Focus handles MUCH better and drives like it costs $15,000 MORE than the Cruze.
      SprinterMatt
      • 8 Months Ago
      I predict Hyundai takes the title next month.
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