At the New York International Auto Show last week, General Motors’ North America president Alan Batey announced the arrival of the Chevrolet Trax subcompact crossover in America. Getting the Trax to America is only half the battle for Batey, now, he must find and appeal to Chevy’s target demographic for the miniature utility vehicle.
AdAge sat down with Batey for an interview, asking him what type of buyers they hope to attract with the Trax and how they will get them to buy it. Batey said GM sees the Trax as being “designed for urban adventures,” and aimed at “urban pioneers looking to discover the city.” The only problem might be the result of recent research, which indicates the younger car-buying generation, mainly ’millennials’, aren’t buying cars. They prefer to walk, ride a bike, or take the bus. But Batey argues millennials are buying cars, they just need a little convincing.
“They are buying cars. Clearly, when you’re doing marketing positioning, you build out from the persona of the customer you’re leaning into. They’re out there. People like to drive these crossover-type vehicles. This is a great segment,” said Batey. “We don’t look at everything through TV advertising. When we launched the Sonic here in the U.S., we didn’t do any TV advertising at all. Everything we did was in the digital space. We had huge success. As you know, Sonic is No. 1 or No. 2, month in, month out, in the small car segment. Tim Mahoney (Chevrolet global Chief Marketing Officer) is here tonight. We’re planning the (Trax) launch as we speak. We’re not going to be just traditional. We really want to lean into these people using all the digital uses we can.”
Batey then, is confident that young customers will flock to the Trax, so long as the marketing push for the car is right. It will be an uphill battle, with many young potential car buyers opting for car-sharing services like Zipcar or car-for-hire apps like Uber to avoid the additional expense and hassle of owning and parking a car in the city.
AdAge also talked to Batey about whether or not GM will address the ignition-switch recall in future advertising and how he feels about Chevy’s logo finally making it on the front of Manchester United’s jerseys this year. Check out the full transcript from the interview here.