In the latest website redesign for its all-new Elantra compact sedan, Hyundai asks the following question:
“Why do some compact car makers charge your more for higher MPG models?”
The question is followed by the tagline:
“The 40-MPG Elantra. Snap out of it”.
While Hyundai doesn’t directly mention Chevy or the Cruze by name, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the bow tie brand’s Delta II-based sedan is at the center of that message. Reading Hyundai’s marketing blurbs, however, caused me to ask the following question: why in the feral heck does Chevy charge more for the most fuel-efficient Cruze of them all — the Cruze ECO?
Sure, the fuel-sippin’ Cruze achieves a record-setting 42 MPG on the highway; and we all know about the über-cool grille louvres, the ultra-low rolling resistance tires coupled with the lightweight 17″ wheels, and the aerodynamic underbelly. But why are those features more expensive than the bottom-of-the-line Cruze LS? In other words, why does Chevy charge more for improved fuel economy — and why aren’t the features of the Cruze ECO standard across the entire Cruze range?
According to the folks at Chevy responsible for the Cruze, the lack of the ECO variant would thin the Cruze line — causing it to have “less depth.” But why is this relevant in the first place? Does the consumer care about such marketing mumbo-jumbo as line breadth or depth? Or does he simply want a compact fuel-efficient vehicle that’s affordable and makes it simple to configure (options) at the same time? The answer, I believe, is an obvious vote for the latter.
But here’s the crescendo: when that same consumer compares the Cruze line to that of the Elantra, he will easily see that Chevy is desperately trying to make an extra buck on the ECO while Hyundai’s Elantra offers the extra value from the get-go… no special (ECO) trim levels needed.
That said, we must also take into account the underlying theory behind increased fuel efficiency: from a purely financial perspective, improved fuel economy should lead to a decreased fuel spend. So isn’t it only fair for Chevrolet to ask more for an increased value proposition?
I’ll let you be the judge of that: is Chevy right to ask for more of your hard-earned cash in return for a more fuel-efficient vehicle while the competition is offering comparable fuel efficiency standard? Let us know in the comments below!