Official: Chevrolet Cruze Wagon will not make it stateside

Article by Anita Panait, on March 9, 2012

General Motors is sticking to its decision to offer just the Chevrolet Cruze’s sedan body type in the U.S. market even as it has launched the Chevrolet European Cruze wagon at the Geneva Auto Show. GM is very keen on implementing its sedan-only strategy for the top-selling Cruze in the U.S., killing hopes of those who want the Cruze model as a wagon, hatchback or a coupe. 

GM’s current strategy for the Cruze is the direct opposite of what the old GM could have done. But that was the old GM. The current GM, which has regained its top position in the global car market, is also implementing a strategy quite different from its rivals, which have been focusing on creating variants of a single model to cater to different types of customers

For example, Hyundai Motor America plans to roll out this spring a coupe and hatchback versions for its Elantra compact, in hopes of boosting sales. In 2011, Honda Motor Co. launched a refreshed Civic coupe while Ford introduced its redesigned Focus with sedan and hatchback versions. 

Looking at Cruze’s predecessors, the Cobalt and Cavalier, GM launched variants of these models, but these were not as successful as the Cruze has been.

What’s believed to be the primary reason for its decision to adopt a Cruze sedan-only strategy is GM’s drive to make profit. GM CEO Dan Akerson and CFO Dan Ammann are targeting to hike pretax global profit margins to 10 percent within the next several years, from 6% in 2011. 

Should GM decide to offer other versions of the Cruze, it would have to retool its US assembly sites, adding more costs to the company’s balance sheet and eating up profit. Adding tooling would also be risky since there is a low demand for wagons and hatchbacks in the US. The profit from the sales of the variants is enough to justify the investment. "You risk adding a vehicle that might not sell as well as you had hoped, and then it hurts the margins," GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said.

The Chevrolet Cruze station wagon makes use of the Chevrolet Cruze sedan’s and hatchback’s sporty design language. It has a wheels-out-and-body-in stance that emphasizes its confident posture, a strong concave shoulder line, as well as a single arch roofline, which tapers off toward its D-pillar. What’s more, it has slim roof rails, which are a standard feature, contributing to its poised overall look.

The station wagon also showcases a dual-port grille that features a golden bowtie at the center. This dual-port grille makes the vehicle instantly recognizable as a Chevrolet. Also, design changes that have been incorporated into the 2013 station wagon, as well as in all other 2013 Cruze models, include angular drawn fascia sporting horizontal slats. Moreover, the station wagon’s enhanced front bumper, equipped with fog lights in newly styled housings, accentuates the vehicle’s sporty appearance.

Additionally, the station wagon’s interior boasts of smoothly flowing lines as well as the brand’s signature dual cockpit, whose wrap-around front fascia flows into the driver’s and passenger’s door. It also features the brand-new MyLink infotainment system, which showcases a new 7-inch high-resolution touch display screen in the center stack.

For vehicles that have been equipped with MyLink or with the new base/mid-level radios that are set to be launched on 2013 Cruze models (left-hand-drive markets), the instrument panel and the HVAC outlets have a redesigned layout. More specifically, the small compartment located at the upper instrument panel now houses the USB and aux-in sockets and is now close to the radio unit.

Furthermore, the vehicles with Start/Stop will be featuring an instrument cluster display that also showcases an eco-drive assistance menu. There’s also a new option for Cruze drivers called the PEPS or Passive Entry-Passive Start, wherein they will be able to unlock, lock and start their vehicle even with their car keys safe inside their pocket.

Lastly, Chevrolet MyLink, which is a sophisticated infotainment system, will be available in the Cruze starting this summer. This brand-new infotainment system will bring smartphone capabilities into the Cruze.

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