General Motors Co. is determining if it will revive brands for performance vehicles in a bid to improve its image with fast-car shoppers. GM, at the recent Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show, introduced its Z-Spec Chevrolet Cruze, Volt and Spark cars. It also unveiled two SS-badge Chevrolet Camaros.
Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet marketing, says the introduction of the new vehicles signifies that GM’s new performance vehicles and motorsports division is looking harder at performance brands. In 2009, GM delayed the development of performance-branded vehicles and reassigned around 60 engineers.
In an interview, Perry said that it’s still possible to buy a Camaro SS or Cadillac CTS V-Spec developed by the disbanded group. He added that currently, Chevrolet doesn’t have a performance sub-brand and that it might not be a sub-brand but rather, “initiatives around parts and accessories.”
Aside from the excitement at GM’s SEMA booth, the SS vehicles and the Chevrolet Z-Spec were seen to be heavy on body kits and badging but light on actual performance modifications.
GM typically has left performance modifications (which usually void manufacturer’s warranty) to aftermarket suppliers, Perry adds. He wants to look at the Z-Spec group of cars as “canvasses for personalization.”
Perry concludes that there’s a “lot of passion” surrounding the Chevrolet brand. Perry also said that in order to tap into this “passion,” he thinks that maybe one way is to build a performance parts business. [via autonews - sub. required]