- Chevrolet is once again planning a huge presence for the annual SEMA show, with performance-upgraded versions of almost every car in its lineup, as well as its new-generation pickup trucks.
- Although SEMA's a hydrocarbon-burner's mecca, Chevy is showing hopped-up concepts of its diesel and even electric-powered models.
- As usual, the range of "aftermarket" enhancements Chevy will display at SEMA run the gamut from true performance upgrades to cosmetic and personalization options.
STERLING HEIGHTS, Michigan — Chevrolet is gearing up for another huge presence at the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association show in Las Vegas in early November and today presented a sneak peek at some of the aftermarket-performance concept cars and components it will display at the show, which remains an industry-only affair closed to the public.
Although Chevy will unveil 2013 SEMA Show concept versions of its big-caliber performance cars, the 2014 Corvette and 2014 Camaro, just prior to the show's opening on November 5, the brand did reveal today the concept versions of the Cruze, Sonic and Spark small cars and the Impala and Malibu sedans that will make appearances at SEMA. In most cases, the cars and their aftermarket components are created to gauge consumer reaction, said Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet marketing. In the past, many of the performance and styling upgrades revealed at SEMA have made the transition into Chevrolet's production models.
The Sonic subcompact, which is proving to be successful with buyers of all ages, gets a couple of SEMA-show treatments. The first, the Performance Sonic RS concept, gets a cold-air induction and high-flow exhaust Stage Kit to boost horsepower by an as-yet unspecified amount. It also features a lowered suspension, 18-inch split-spoke alloy wheels and tinted headlights and foglamps and tinted exterior trim. Chevy said the components are designed to be readily installed by its dealers.
A second Sonic, the Ricky Carmichael All-Activity Sonic concept, created in cooperation with the X Games gold medalist and NASCAR driver Ricky Carmichael, gets the Stage Kit upgrade for the Sonic's turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder, a lowered suspension, a Chevy Performance brake upgrade using Wilwood front calipers and its own special 18-inch alloys. The car's satin-black exterior is pearlized with blue and features custom graphics (a SEMA staple, for the uninitiated). Inside, there's black leather instrument panel trim, a flat-bottom steering wheel and Fox Racing "board short" upholstery.
Reinforcing that SEMA's changing with the times, a modified version of the battery-electric Spark EV, the Spark EV Tech Performance concept, gets a modded power-delivery algorithm to boost acceleration over the production model's 7.5-second 0-60-mph time. There also are beefed-up axles, lightweight components, custom paint and graphics and a military-style flip-up start switch.
Staying with the alternative-fuel theme, the Personalization Cruze Diesel Concept wears a nasty ground-effects package from body-kit specialist 3dCarbon. The Cruze Diesel Concept also has a boosted Kicker audio system and a special interior ambient-lighting package.
Also earmarked for a SEMA appearance is a concept version of the restyled 2014 Chevrolet Malibu. The production version of the 2014 Malibu was engineered with "a raft of technology, comfort and refinement enhancements," said Chevy, while the Malibu LTZ concept at SEMA builds on that with a ground-effects styling package, 19-inch alloys, a Borla exhaust for better breathing of the car's turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, as well as a Stage Kit similar to the Sonic concept's that "supports greater performance."
The 2014 Impala is Chevy's newest sedan and it comes to the 2013 SEMA Show in the form of the Urban Cool Impala concept, which hikes up the Impala's standard LTZ trim level with a custom grille and Chevrolet Accessories ground-effects bodywork and 20-inch wheels painted to match the grille details. The Urban Cool Impala is lowered and interior trim is high-gloss piano black. There are perforated-leather seats, orange contrast stitching and an 11-speaker Bose Centerpoint surround-sound audio system.
Edmunds says: Chevrolet once again piques the interest of all manner of performance enthusiasts with its SEMA show concept cars. Expect Chevy's big-horsepower SEMA concepts to be unwrapped closer to the aftermarket equipment show's start.