General Motors said today that it will deliver 13 all-new or redesigned Chevrolet vehicles in 2013.
"13 is a big year for Chevrolet," GM spokesman Michael Albano said at a briefing at Detroit's Renaissance Center. "You know some of them. There's a lot of chatter about others and a couple will be complete surprises, which we're thrilled about."
In 2013, the automaker is expected to start selling the all-new version of the highly anticipated Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickup truck and the redesigned Chevrolet Impala full-size sedan. A redesigned Chevrolet Corvette is also widely rumored to hit showrooms next year.
Albano said new models for 2013 include the previously announced Impala, a new Traverse crossover, a diesel version of the Cruze compact car and an electric version of the Spark. There will be two surprises, he said.
The news comes as GM's passenger cars are gaining momentum, including the new Chevrolet Spark mini car, Chevrolet Sonic subcompact and all-new Chevrolet Malibu mid-size sedan. The automaker's passenger car sales rose 11% in the first nine months of the year.
Still, GM faces stiff competition in the passenger car market, which features recently redesigned vehicles like the Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima and Honda Accord.
In California, where fuel prices are soaring and consumers are flocking to small vehicles, GM's market share still lags despite strong sales of the Volt plug-in electric vehicle. California buyers favor foreign brands.
"Honestly California is not the strongest market for Chevrolet, no big surprise," said Cristi Landy, director of marketing for Chevrolet passenger cars. "We still want to build awareness."
Like the rest of the auto industry, GM is fighting for young buyers and repositioning its product portfolio to meet aggressive federal fuel economy standards.
Landy said the average age of Chevrolet buyers has been falling since the company replaced the Cobalt compact with the Cruze in 2010 and the Aveo with the Sonic.
"They're younger, they're more affluent, they're more educated," she said. "That's all good."
She said 30% of Sonic buyers are under 35, and 60% of Sonic buyers are trading in a non-GM vehicle.
GM has been rolling out the Spark slowly, choosing 18 urban markets to start selling the mini car. Landy said customers in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago have shown a lot of interest in the new vehicle, which will be sold nationally starting in the first quarter of 2013.
"The mini car is really new to us. It's new to most Americans as well, but we've had some great success right out of the gate," Landy said. "Our dealers are asking us for more."
One of GM's most important launches in 2013 is the redesigned 2014 Impala. A six-cylinder version of the Impala will go on sale in the first quarter and the full rollout will take place soon after that.
GM hopes to squeeze more retail sales out of the Impala. About two-thirds of 2013 Impala sales are to less-profitable fleet customers, while retail represents one-third, said Jon Hahn, marketing manager for the Impala and Malibu.
Hahn said GM hopes to flip that equation with the 2014 Impala, making fleet represent only one-third of sales.
"We're going to limit our daily rental volume with this new car as you've seen with many of our recent launches," Hahn said.
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