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Chevy sets prices for new Cruze

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Chevy sets prices for new Cruze

Marketing chief says compact will set a new benchmark

Scott Burgess / The Detroit News

The all-new Chevrolet Cruze, which arrives in September, could mark the beginning of more sophisticated compacts coming to market.

The Cruze will raise consumers expectations for all compact cars, said Margaret Brooks, Chevrolet's product marketing director. Chevy announced pricing for the Cruze on Thursday; the base level begins at $16,995.

Chevy plans to pursue a new mix of customers beyond entry-level buyers. They are not only returning compact car buyers but also consumers upgrading from subcompacts and those moving out of larger vehicles, Brooks said.

That last group is a relatively new one to the compact segment, said Ed Kim, an automotive analyst at AutoPacific. "GM can no longer look at compacts as entry level cars," Kim said. "These C segment vehicles are where midsize cars used to be."

A wave of new compact cars coming to the United States has raised the content in these cars as well as their price, Kim said.

With the redesigned 2012 Ford Fusion and 2012 Honda arriving next year, as well as a new Volkswagen Jetta on its way, compact cars will become just as cut-throat as the traditional big-volume midsize segment, Kim said.

According to AutoData Corp., the compact car segment has grown 18.6 percent through May of this year.

"We believe the Cruze can redefine the expectations for compact-car owners and shoppers who are new to the segment," said Jim Campbell, vice president of Chevrolet Marketing, in a new release. "For the price of a compact car, Cruze offers the styling, safety features, roominess, amenities and refinement of a much more expensive car."

And officials at Chevrolet have high expectations for the Cruze.

"It will absolutely do better than the Chevrolet Cobalt," Brooks said.

Last year, Chevrolet sold 105,000 Cobalts.

The roomy and comfortable Cruze will include features not found in the midsize segment a few years ago, such as heated seats and a navigation system.

The starting price of the base model is slightly higher than some of its competitors.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100604/AUTO01/6040337/1148/auto01/Chevy-sets-prices-for-new-Cruze#ixzz0ptGYdpe5

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