01 September 2010

Cruze Ads are Ready; Chevy aims to show Quality Compact

The Detroit Free Press

Chevrolet will launch advertising for the Cruze next week, as the mainstream brand seeks to convince customers it can make a high-quality compact sedan.

Cruzes will begin arriving at dealerships in mid-September. Chevrolet is targeting the car at 20-somethings and empty-nesters ages 45 to 65, seeking to lure small-car buyers who have flocked to vehicles like the Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla and shunned offerings from GM.

The Cruze marketing campaign, titled "Accolades," will highlight vehicle features being touted by General Motors and will emphasize how people outside the company view the car, said Margaret Brooks, marketing director for Chevrolet small cars, at a media event in Birmingham on Tuesday.

GM is also giving the Cruze its own marketing tagline, although Brooks declined to give more specifics about the advertising or the slogan.

Chevrolet, whose last tagline was American Revolution, has been looking for a replacement since July 2009.

In the Cruze advertising, GM may focus on key features such as the 36-m.p.g.-highway rating the standard version of the Cruze recently received, the car's 500-mile range in highway driving or its 10 standard airbags.

"You're probably not going to do it with a car that's 'As good as.' You've got to have a car that's better," said Chuck Russell, GM's vehicle line director for global compact cars.

GM is asking dealers to buy competing vehicles for their showrooms to allow customers to do side-by-side comparisons with the Cruze, Brooks said.

GM has also touted the value of the base-model Cruze, which starts at $16,995 with shipping, over base models of competing vehicles. For instance, the 2010 Civic starts at $16,405 with shipping, but lacks features such as the standard air-conditioning, power locks and keyless entry found in the Cruze.

In addition, GM said, Cruze customers with an OnStar subscription will be able to use one of OnStar's new smartphone apps to check their fuel range, oil life and tire pressure or remotely start or unlock the Cruze or honk its horn. OnStar is free for the first six months.

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