DETROIT — At the recent press introduction of the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Global Brand Manager Alan Batey said that "dealers are critical to our success. They have passion and excitement for our new products."
To underscore the point, Steve Majoros, Chevrolet's director of marketing, told Edmunds that reaction was "overwhelmingly positive" at the annual dealers' meeting in Las Vegas in June, not only to the Cruze but also to the other four completely redesigned Chevy models for 2016.
Mark Frost, vice president of operations for GM brands at Jim Ellis Chevrolet in Atlanta, was at the dealer meeting and told Edmunds: "When the new Cruze rolled out on stage, it was met with thunderous applause by the thousand or so dealers in the room. And as you probably know, dealers are usually the harshest critics!"
Frost continued: "I think the new Cruze is a welcomed evolution of an already solid vehicle. It follows the evolution of the new Malibu in sophistication and refinement. I think the changes will move the vehicle from 'player' status to 'contender' in one of the most competitive segments in America."
The 2016 Cruze is set to arrive at Chevrolet dealerships in early 2016.
Tom Henry, of Tom Henry Chevrolet in Bakerstown, Pennsylvania, who was also at the Las Vegas meeting, particularly liked the 250-pound weight loss compared to the previous Cruze, as well as the sleeker design.
Henry told Edmunds: "I especially liked the roof line. The styling should attract customers, and the technology of the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay hook-ups to the Chevrolet MyLink screen should be a 'wow' factor."
Regarding competitors to the Cruze, like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, Frost said: "We know we already have cars that are just as good or better than Toyota or Honda in quality and reliability. I think the new Cruze (and Malibu) are now sexy enough to attract interest from consumers who have long been driving competitive makes."
Henry agreed: "This car is bread and butter for us, so it will do well. In the Pittsburgh area it is number-one in the market."
Although neither dealership has begun special promotions or marketing initiatives for the new Cruze, Frost said, "I'm sure they are coming," and Henry noted, "Chevy tells us they will support it out of the box, so we should be able to hit the ground running with attractive leases and good payments."
With the Cruze compact sedan, said Majoros, Chevrolet dealers as well as buyers are very enthusiastic about the estimated 40 mpg on the highway that will be delivered by the new 1.4-liter turbocharged engine in combination with the car's lighter weight and more aerodynamic design.
In this market segment, he said, "fuel economy is king."
Edmunds says: Consumers shopping in the compact-car segment will find enthusiastic dealers ready to show off the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze.