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American pleas for ‘sexy’ Cruze hatchback

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American pleas for ‘sexy’ Cruze hatchback

In demand: The Chevrolet Cruze hatchback's design has won bouquets from American critics.

High praise for Holden-designed Cruze five-door prompts calls for US launch

15 September 2010

By RON HAMMERTON

A GROUNDSWELL of popular support is applying the blowtorch to General Motors to speed the Holden-designed Cruze hatchback on to the United States market alongside the sedan.

The Australian-crafted small car has won high praise from some of America’s leading motoring commentators who have urged Chevrolet to re-think its decision not to release the versatile five-door model in North America.

So far, only the sedan version of the GM’s small car is slated for launch in the US, with the hatch confined to other markets such as Europe, Asia and Australia where it goes on sale in the second half of next year.

The hatchback, designed in Melbourne by a Holden team led by chief designer Richard Ferlazzo, is set for its public launch at the Paris motor show on September 30.

It will be built at a number of sites around the world, including Holden’s Elizabeth plant in South Australia where it will travel down the production line alongside the Cruze sedan and wagon to join the Holden range from the second half of 2011.

The release of pre-Paris publicity images of the hatch last week triggered a wave of accolades for the five-door design in the US where the Cruze sedan has just gone into production at GM’s Lordstown factory for imminent showroom release.

Motoring writers from the authoritative Automotive News and Wall Street Journal are among those who lament Chevrolet’s decision to stick with the sedan version for North America, apparently because of common wisdom that American buyers overwhelmingly favour four-door sedans over five-door hatches.

Writing in Automotive News, product editor Richard Krantz described the hatch as sleek, adding: “Frankly, the photos show a more attractive offering than the sedan.”

Krantz says he has difficulty accepting reasoning that suggests hatchbacks don’t appeal to US buyers.

“I guess I am in the minority – I would prefer a five-door compact over a four-door every time,” he wrote.

“I believe Chevy would be surprised by the sales response.”

Krantz said Ford was set to release a five-door Focus in its 2012 range.

“The five-door Cruze would make Chevy dealers more competitive with Ford, plus give dealers a potential advantage over its primary target, Civic and Corolla offerings.

“So Chevy dealers, is one Cruze flavour enough, or do you need two?”

The Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Welsh echoed the sentiments, saying: “Am I the only one who thinks the Cruze hatchback looks good enough to sell here?”

Welsh said consumer feelings toward hatchbacks were changing in the US, as evidenced by the success of such models from Subaru, Mazda and Volkswagen.

“In the end a lot of people buy cars for their looks, and I think the Cruze hatch looks a lot better than the sedan,” he wrote.

“It’s the difference between dowdy and sexy. The new Cruze five-door hatchback will go on sale in Europe mid 2011 and later in other markets.

“Despite what Chevy officials say now, I have a feeling the hatch will reach our shores, too, within a couple of years.”

The commentary has been taken up on numerous public blogs in the US, where car fans have urged GM to add the hatchback to its line-up.

If Chevrolet does launch the Cruze hatchback in the US, it is unlikely to be exported from Australia, at least in standard form. More likely, it would join the sedan in production at Lordstown, giving GM a fresh small-car entrant as Ford launches Focus as a 2011 model.

GM executives responsible for such as decision are all well aware of the Cruze hatch, as GM North America president Mark Reuss and Chevrolet marketing sales and marketing Alan Batey were both at GM Holden when the Cruze hatchback was hatched.

The Cruze is built on GM’s Delta II small-car platform that has also spawned the Opel/Vauxhall Astra, GM Volt and Chevrolet Orlando – the latter also designed in Australia.

Cruze development was controlled by GM’s South Korean design centre, which also took responsibility for the sedan design. The hatchback ‘home room’ was allocated to Holden’s design centre at Fisherman’s Bend – one of only three GM technical centres that can take a car from scratch to production.

In both the US and Australia, the Cruze is regarded as the most import new model to go into local production since GM’s emergence from chapter 11 bankruptcy last year.

In both markets, the 2011 Cruze will get GM’s new high-efficiency 1.4-litre turbo-charged four-cylinder petrol engine.

link:

http://www.goauto.com.au/mellor/mellor.nsf/story2/4223400F68B54AC9CA25779F000F540F

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still think the Astra hatch is a better product, however, on its own merit a Cruze hatch could be given a chance. the problem with the Cruze that needs to be addressed remains price and powertrain OPTIONS.

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Who are these Americans? I don't think the hatch would sell well here.

I've never understood the dislike of hatchbacks in the US...in small cars like this, I'd much rather have a hatch than a tiny, useless trunk. It seems Americans only like hatchbacks if they are a CUV or SUV.

Like w/ SAABs--without the hatchback models, they became just another FWD near-lux brand..the hatchbacks were essential to the SAAB character..

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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As cars shrink the hatch will become more and more common and likes here. For too many years the Hatch was looked at as an entry car here by consumers. Now that the cars are getting harder to get large object I see them comming around to them again.

Also if the penalty for the larger SUV's hit in the future it will drive people to cars like this.

The Cruze hatch will not be a run away hit here but it would hold it's own as the market grows. Best for GM to bring it now and set the standard for what is expected vs playing catch up again.

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As cars shrink the hatch will become more and more common and likes here. For too many years the Hatch was looked at as an entry car here by consumers. Now that the cars are getting harder to get large object I see them comming around to them again.

I agree. Of course, my parents had a '74 Nova hatchback new, so I always appreciated a hatchback. Of course, in those days hatchbacks looked much like sedans... unlike the humpback designs that followed.

I think hatchs are unavoidable because trunks have gotten so short. Most of the space in the trunks is under the window and the trunk lids seem like mail slots... which is fine in a specialty car (Like the GP 2+2 or Monte Carlo Aerocoupe), but inexcusable in a daily hauler.

Yet another reason why I'm probably out of the new car market forever... I simply can't see living daily with a car with less trunk than my '99 Bonne.

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I agree. Of course, my parents had a '74 Nova hatchback new, so I always appreciated a hatchback. Of course, in those days hatchbacks looked much like sedans... unlike the humpback designs that followed.

I think hatchs are unavoidable because trunks have gotten so short. Most of the space in the trunks is under the window and the trunk lids seem like mail slots... which is fine in a specialty car (Like the GP 2+2 or Monte Carlo Aerocoupe), but inexcusable in a daily hauler.

Yet another reason why I'm probably out of the new car market forever... I simply can't see living daily with a car with less trunk than my '99 Bonne.

I had a loaner Cobalt and if you had a medium size box it would not fit in the rear opening. I even have many things that will not go in the 04 GP.

THe larger SUV trucks will become much more difficult to afford with the new mileage ratings coming. They already say the large trucks will see a $15K penalty so the smaller truck will have less but it will still add to the already high price.

People now seem tired of the minivan. Not too mamy more ways you can spin or rehash one than it already has.

The Crossovers like the Nox and Edge are proving to be popular and will live on but not every one wants to step up to get in a vehicle.

With the need to move goods and with better qulity cars with better marketing I think they can help sell these in the future. Just too many relate hatch cars to Escorts and Citations. Cheap, rattley. Even many of the past imports were not any better and most were low price entry level cars. Few imported the better cars and ever fewer put much effort into marketing the better few that did make it.

Edited by hyperv6

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The 5-door is a more appealing product than the sleepy 4-door, for sure. It should be offered here, and I think it would sell. The only Cruze I'd ever remotely consider, however, would be a 2-door coupe or 3-door hatch. End of story.

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last gen astra and magnum were ideas to me of how a hatchback should be. the hatch itself is not entirely vertical, its somewhat sloping and the hinge point is further up on the roof. the hatch size is not ginormous either. so its not hard to access or open. its wide and useful and has little restriction in width or up top. and it doesn't swing in your face. and, it doesn't look geeky it looks cool.

the magnum is probably the best executed wagon hatch i have seen. its almost worth buying the vehicle for that reason alone (that and the milk jug cubbies behind the wheel well).

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The 5-door is a more appealing product than the sleepy 4-door, for sure. It should be offered here, and I think it would sell. The only Cruze I'd ever remotely consider, however, would be a 2-door coupe or 3-door hatch. End of story.

Well that is one sold now we have to convince the many who do not know they really want one. That is why Marketing is key. GM needs to let these people know what this car can do for them. People need to be shown a car like this can be quiet, comfortable, easy to drive and show how versatile it is in today smaller car market.

In other words this is not the second coming of the Citation hatch sedan.

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last gen astra and magnum were ideas to me of how a hatchback should be. the hatch itself is not entirely vertical, its somewhat sloping and the hinge point is further up on the roof. the hatch size is not ginormous either. so its not hard to access or open. its wide and useful and has little restriction in width or up top. and it doesn't swing in your face. and, it doesn't look geeky it looks cool.

the magnum is probably the best executed wagon hatch i have seen. its almost worth buying the vehicle for that reason alone (that and the milk jug cubbies behind the wheel well).

The Magnum was a very good looking cool and powerful wagon. As for hauling thing in the class of car it was it was marginaL. Lets face it if you were to buy something that large and the powerful you would be better off in a SUV for hauling. The low roof killed much of the versatility. I can haul milk in a Charger.

I see a market for hatches and wagons in the smaller cars but the larger cars it will be limited at best. Example how many Magnums are being built today. Even great styling can't win this one.

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everyone knows wagons don't have the ultimate capacity of minivans and suv's but they are still better than sedans. for a second vehicle, that extra utility is very helpful. and you get more carlike behavior as opposed to a very upright and plodding crossover. a magnum will have much greater cargo capacity than a cruze 5 door. the magnum has a really big cargo area actually, several duffels will easily fit and its very deep. not like GM's equinox which has no space between the wheelwell trim, or even the HHR which even though has a tall cargo area with the rear seat up, doesn't really have much depth or width to its cargo area.

Edited by regfootball

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The Magnum was a very good looking cool and powerful wagon. As for hauling thing in the class of car it was it was marginaL.

Agreed... and I wish people would stop using the Magnum as the '00s poster child for wagons. Its was cool... but it was not a great wagon, unless you were replacing an AMC Hornet Sportwagon. The sloping rear window, IMHO, is one of the main reasons it was not a huge seller... it was more of a long hatchback than a wagon... Is this still sold in Europe?

Due to the problems of legalizing 3 different bodies (Sedan, Hatchback, Wagon?), perhaps we need to revisit an idea from the '80s... the ~'88 Pulsar, with its interchangeable rear section, which could be a hatchback or Sportbak wagon. Make the next Cruze so that the customer can choose between a sedan, hatchback or wagon rear section. Or even buy more than one and switch it as needed.

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everyone knows wagons don't have the ultimate capacity of minivans and suv's but they are still better than sedans. for a second vehicle, that extra utility is very helpful. and you get more carlike behavior as opposed to a very upright and plodding crossover. a magnum will have much greater cargo capacity than a cruze 5 door. the magnum has a really big cargo area actually, several duffels will easily fit and its very deep. not like GM's equinox which has no space between the wheelwell trim, or even the HHR which even though has a tall cargo area with the rear seat up, doesn't really have much depth or width to its cargo area.

Everyone know this and this is part of the reason why few wagons make it in this market. People buy utility or appliances not cars in most cases anymore.

Funny I could carry 4 duffles and raise you a large square box in the HHR. I work with a guy with a Magnum with the AWD, It is a very nice car and has some utility but He has more limitations on what he can carry over what I can. I think who ever can come up with a taller wagon with acceptable styling will win a place in the marketbut it has to have good styling. The challnge is to make it look good and not like a Honda Fit or a Ford.

The Ford Flex has sold better than the Magnum and had bett utility but has fallen short on style. Price also does not help.

The Soul has tapped into a style that is well accepted but it is too short to carry anything much.

Well who ever hits on the talled vehicle with the style people want will create the market. Right now it has bounced between Style or Utility and no one has made a major impact.

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The Magnum was a very good looking cool and powerful wagon. As for hauling thing in the class of car it was it was marginaL. Lets face it if you were to buy something that large and the powerful you would be better off in a SUV for hauling. The low roof killed much of the versatility. I can haul milk in a Charger.

I see a market for hatches and wagons in the smaller cars but the larger cars it will be limited at best. Example how many Magnums are being built today. Even great styling can't win this one.

Sorry hyper you can't have it both ways with the gloom & doom. In one instance you say we need to embrace the less = more idiom but in the next you want us to have a monstrous SUV to haul things in most in Europe have 1 car a wagon or a hatch if they need to haul things if they're well off they might have a city car also. Now I'm not talking about the rich just the norm. This works in the States also if offered the right product ALL Domestics were forced to downsize product due to CAFE and we Americans along with the Domestic's found the loophole that being truck based wagons & minivans. So let them build cars that fit people in this country and get them out of truck based wagons. Now you truck guys don't kill me on this I believe in the need for SUV's but lets get the pendulum back to say 1980 when we drove cars and USED our trucks for what they were made for and not a status symbol. :soapbox: (climbing down now)

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Sorry hyper you can't have it both ways with the gloom & doom. In one instance you say we need to embrace the less = more idiom but in the next you want us to have a monstrous SUV to haul things in most in Europe have 1 car a wagon or a hatch if they need to haul things if they're well off they might have a city car also. Now I'm not talking about the rich just the norm. This works in the States also if offered the right product ALL Domestics were forced to downsize product due to CAFE and we Americans along with the Domestic's found the loophole that being truck based wagons & minivans. So let them build cars that fit people in this country and get them out of truck based wagons. Now you truck guys don't kill me on this I believe in the need for SUV's but lets get the pendulum back to say 1980 when we drove cars and USED our trucks for what they were made for and not a status symbol. :soapbox: (climbing down now)

Sorry in todays market more and more are having it both ways. Crossovers have proven you can still have a SUV but package it smaller to suit most needs and still carry most normal everyday objects.

The wagon can be made to haul larger items and still be of a smaller size. The key is to come up with a look that is as good as a Magnum but will work with a higher roof to make it more appealing to those who want more space.

The New Flex is a tall wagon. Ford is already doing this but in their case the Box styling is a little polarizing to most. The Flex is a good vehicle and practical just the styling is not connecting as it needs to with many.

The issue is most people do not want a traditional wagon here. They will most times take the 4 cylinder minivan every time over a wagon. They are looking at hauling more than style. But if wagon bridge the style and practical gap you can create a new market.

The Challange is there and it is a matter of time before someone figures out the styling part as the practial cargo is a no brainer. The end result may not be the traditional wagon as we once knew but it may a a modern version.

Today auto market is no longer set is set groups and often is set upon with a new class of vehicle anymore.

That was the appeal of the HHR for many was it was a car, wagon, SUV and play car etc since it had attributes of each. Still today many debate what it really iss. A new wagon car hybrid does not have to be retro but a low ride with a tall roof and styling that draw people in can be done on many different size platforms.

As for your rant on Trucks. I am not a truck guy since I do not own one and when I did it was a Sonoma and S10. But for the money there is no better bargin than a full size truck. When GM has the truck sales in Oct you can not buy much car vs the same price you could pay for a Silverado. I had a Family member get a Ext Cab 1/2 ton LT loaded for under $20K. He uses his truck but what kind of car do you really get anymore for less than $20K.

Edited by hyperv6

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Sorry in todays market more and more are having it both ways. Crossovers have proven you can still have a SUV but package it smaller to suit most needs and still carry most normal everyday objects.

The wagon can be made to haul larger items and still be of a smaller size. The key is to come up with a look that is as good as a Magnum but will work with a higher roof to make it more appealing to those who want more space.

The New Flex is a tall wagon. Ford is already doing this but in their case the Box styling is a little polarizing to most. The Flex is a good vehicle and practical just the styling is not connecting as it needs to with many.

The issue is most people do not want a traditional wagon here. They will most times take the 4 cylinder minivan every time over a wagon. They are looking at hauling more than style. But if wagon bridge the style and practical gap you can create a new market.

The Challange is there and it is a matter of time before someone figures out the styling part as the practial cargo is a no brainer. The end result may not be the traditional wagon as we once knew but it may a a modern version.

Today auto market is no longer set is set groups and often is set upon with a new class of vehicle anymore.

That was the appeal of the HHR for many was it was a car, wagon, SUV and play car etc since it had attributes of each. Still today many debate what it really iss. A new wagon car hybrid does not have to be retro but a low ride with a tall roof and styling that draw people in can be done on many different size platforms.

As for your rant on Trucks. I am not a truck guy since I do not own one and when I did it was a Sonoma and S10. But for the money there is no better bargin than a full size truck. When GM has the truck sales in Oct you can not buy much car vs the same price you could pay for a Silverado. I had a Family member get a Ext Cab 1/2 ton LT loaded for under $20K. He uses his truck but what kind of car do you really get anymore for less than $20K.

All I can say is WoW you've made about a 170degree turn on this post.

1 Great take on the HHR

2 "A new wagon car hybrid does not have to be retro but a low ride with a tall roof and styling that draw people in can be done on many different size platforms." I can agree on this as long as we're not talking Holden Sandman tall or something like Transit Connect. Low wide & longish in multiple class/sizes is greatly needed sounds like the 60-80's to me starting with Cruze on up including Caprice and in the other brands besides Chevy but not clones. They need to be differentiated by content styling engines not just price

3 Minivans are waning and with the surge of wagons abet a tepid surge we may be seeing the tide changing as most people bemoan the handling of them.

4 The Ford Flex is as close to a wagon as I've seen in a while thoe the Magnum was sexy the Flex is more purpose built but I don't think that it can evolve into a HHR SS like car. I'm still seeing the Flex as a International Travelall than a Vista Cruiser. I want modern also but the sedan based wagon is the best compromise I'll give in to the raised roof look but I think that car based will yield the greatest return.

5 The government/s need to streamline the crash testing process so we can have the options that will afford this country to reduce our oil consumption reasonably not forcefully.

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All I can say is WoW you've made about a 170degree turn on this post.

1 Great take on the HHR

2 "A new wagon car hybrid does not have to be retro but a low ride with a tall roof and styling that draw people in can be done on many different size platforms." I can agree on this as long as we're not talking Holden Sandman tall or something like Transit Connect. Low wide & longish in multiple class/sizes is greatly needed sounds like the 60-80's to me starting with Cruze on up including Caprice and in the other brands besides Chevy but not clones. They need to be differentiated by content styling engines not just price

3 Minivans are waning and with the surge of wagons abet a tepid surge we may be seeing the tide changing as most people bemoan the handling of them.

4 The Ford Flex is as close to a wagon as I've seen in a while thoe the Magnum was sexy the Flex is more purpose built but I don't think that it can evolve into a HHR SS like car. I'm still seeing the Flex as a International Travelall than a Vista Cruiser. I want modern also but the sedan based wagon is the best compromise I'll give in to the raised roof look but I think that car based will yield the greatest return.

5 The government/s need to streamline the crash testing process so we can have the options that will afford this country to reduce our oil consumption reasonably not forcefully.

Not really 170 change I either better explained or you better got what I mean.

I have nothing aginst wagons but the fact the public will not accept the old style wagon no matter how good it looks. They need to make them more useable vs the other options. Hybirds of the SUV like but car based unit may work.

Ford has the right combo just the lack of styling that would draw many in is lacking. It is not bad just not sexy.

The goverment needs to work with the industry better as now they have the 35 MPG there are many that are pushing 60 MPG now. There will be serious issues ahead if this happens. Some now hate small FWD cars just wait till they get levels like this.

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