GM Sets Sights on Premium Minicar Market
A $25,000 Aveo? Not quite, but BusinessWeek (BW) says GM is considering building what they're calling the "micro-premium car," aimed at the MINI, BMW 1-series and Audi A3 market. They have two problems to overcome before they enter that brave new world. First, they have to find a suitable platform, something a bit more upscale than the Daewoo-engineered hardware now used for their smallest cars. Second, they have to figure out where it fits in their muddled marketing model. Cadillac is out. "Sources" told BW they want to "preserve the brand's image for big, high-powered cars." So where do the BLS and the even smaller Alpha-platform model planned for 2011 fit into that image? Anyway, Chevy's not a contender because no one would pay that much for a small Chevy. They're reportedly considering Buick, Saab or Saturn. And what do they think the chances are of anyone buying such a vehicle from a GM dealer? BW states, "GM has discovered that Gen Y's buyers don't hold a grudge against domestic brands the way Generation X and some baby boomers do… if it can make a small car that is both fuel-efficient and has real cachet, they could make inroads with a generation that is fast growing into its car-buying years." That's a pretty lofty goal; now let's see if they can overcome a long and ignoble history of botched small-car projects.