Advertisement
Find a Car
Go!

GM’s Subcompact Trio Grabs 1.8M Eyeballs

Follow Marty



And what, exactly, took GM by surprise?

“We were pretty blown away” by the response to the Chevrolet Trax, Beat and Groove, the minicars the automaker unveiled at last month’s New York Auto Show, gapes a GM spokesman. In an interview with the Detroit News, Michael Albano adds that “It has certainly opened our eyes to that segment here.”

It didn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize what was happening even before GM unveiled the three cars, known affectionately among company insiders as “the triplets.” The buzz was intense and generated massive coverage everywhere from the network news shows, to non-automotive blog sites. At the show itself, the Chevrolet press event was easily the most heavily attended.

And since then, close to 900,000 people have registered their opinion on the Web site, Vote4Chevrolet.com, which was set up to see which of the concept vehicles best connected to potential customers.

When TheCarConnection.com last spoke to GM’s car czar, Bob Lutz, he was skeptical about the market for minicars in the U.S., but that was before gas prices again soared to record levels. If that happened – and if prices didn’t settle back – he conceded, things just might shift and American buyers, like those in most of the rest of the world, might start to understand why “small is beautiful.” That appears to be happening.

In GM’s clearly unscientific poll, the Groove – known as “Funkastalgia” among GM hipsters – is dominating, with 54 percent of the votes. Think of it as a sort of factory-ready hotrod, “where you buy a car that’s already got a customized look,” asserted Dave Lyons, who until last week headed the GM/Daewoo design studio, in Inchon, South Korea, where all three of the triplets were developed.

Next on the list is Beat, with 37 percent of the vote. Of the three, it’s the only “runner,” with a fully functioning powertrain and interior – which is not what you’d expect to find in a traditional econobox. The dash is hand-stitched, multi-color cloth, the seats using an Aeron-like mesh to permit more knee room for backseat passengers.

Surprisingly low on the vote totem poll is Trax, which was the triplet GM originally gave the most exposure to. While the hood, roof and doors are traditional steel, painted in a glossy, sunrise orange, most of the other body panels, including the lower front fascia and front fenders, are made of plastic, and they’ve got a more satin-like finish with molded-in color.

Lutz told TheCarConnection.com that he’ll be watching the Vote4Chevrolet results closely, though, in the end, he’ll still make up his own mind about whether or not to build one or more of the triplets. We hope that his well-publicized gut instinct recognizes the ongoing shift in the market and gives a go to GM’s minicar program.

Tiny cars, big buzz
Advertisement
 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (5)
  1. GM did this? Really? The folks that brought us the Chevette? The Lumina APV? The Aztek? I'm stunned. These cars seem to be exactly what the General needs to mount a serious fight on the minicar front. I hope they realize that they need to build all three.

    This is the first real initiative GM has shown in the small car segment since they introduced the Corvair in 1959. If they screw this up, they might as well turn out the lights and hand the keys to Toyota on the way out the door.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  2. General Motors' Lutz and Company have to get out of their Ivory Tower Fortress called RenCen and mingle among us pee-ons. Have their chauffeurs drive on the different freeways in Detroit to count how many Honda Fits,Toyota Yaris and Nissan Versaa are out there among the GMAT produced Chevy Aveo.

    How pathetic can these people be in not knowing how the US public would respond to a stylish subcompact when the price of gasoline continues to climb without abatement. If GM decides to build any of these subcompacts,it will probably not be assembled in the USA because of the UAW's higher wages. Regardless where assembled,build them and your showrooms will be full of buyers. Just like the Honda,Toyota and Nissan dealerships down the street.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  3. As a satisfied Daewoo owner (2000 Nubira CSX wagon with 116k miles - original plugs & shocks, no rust, never tuned up, never failed to start in any weather, still gets the same 27mpg cruising @ 80 mpg with two aboard as it did when new) I know the kind of build quality Daewoo (now GM/Daewoo) is capable of. Please let GM/Daewoo build all 3 of these vehicles (as it now builds the Aveo and Suzuki Forenza [today's Nubira]).
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  4. Cher Monsieur! What are You talking about?!,This is DAEWOO Miracle!,GM just bought some percentage of this Korean Automakers,Now let's celebrate for the REUNIFIVCATION of N. and S.Korea (Same like in the brave and liberated P.R. of Vietnam,unity)!.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  5. Mr. Lutz needs to be less coy when discussing the future of these surprisingly desirable micro-concepts. These cars are the right vehicle at the right time. The price of gasoline will not go down as world-wide demand grows with each passing day, so the notion that their desireability will deminish is moot.
    This is the same oportunity for GM, that the Japanese imports had in the oil crissis of the 70's.
    Mr. Lutz, we are awaiting your response.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement
Advertisement
Try My Showroom
Save cars, write notes, and comparison shop with hi-res photos.
Add your first car
Take Us With You!
   
Advertisement

 
© 2014 The Car Connection. All Rights Reserved. The Car Connection is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by izmo, Inc. Send us feedback.