DETROIT -- The Chevrolet HHR has joined two much more expensive Hummer models as one of the three most accessorized vehicles in the General Motors lineup. A little over 50 percent of the HHRs sold last year were purchased with one or more accessories, GM says. Those buyers purchased an average of $550 in accessories, ranking the HHR third behind the Hummer H2 at about $2,000 and the H3 at $1,100.
HHR sales totaled just over 41,000 units last year, indicating that Chevrolet dealers realized about $11 million in retail sales from accessories.
The Chevy has a base price of $15,890. The H2 starts at $53,855, and the H3 starts at $29,500. All prices include freight.
The accessorizing rate "is much higher than what our objectives were," said Steve McGuire, HHR marketing manager. "We are very pleased."
McGuire would not say what the original objective was.
The top-selling HHR accessories, by unit volume, are running boards, which have a $445 suggested retail price, including installation; floor mats, which range from $50 to $100; and the rear spoiler, priced at $395 including installation. Also popular are splash guards and a rear-bumper fascia protector.
Some buyers want the HHR without the running boards because "they like the way the flared fenders pop out," McGuire said. Others want the HHR with the running boards because they believe "it smooths out that (fender) line," he said.
Chevrolet expects to have about 30 accessories available for the HHR by the end of the 2006 model year. Additional accessories are under review for the 2007 model year.
While a few interior accessories are offered, such as a smoker's kit, Chevrolet is concentrating on the exterior because "they tend to be more big ticket items, so we tend to generate more revenue," McGuire said.
What accounts for the success?
"It gets back to developing the vehicle for accessories," such as 17-inch custom wheels and running boards, which play off the car's retro styling, McGuire said.
Sales also were helped by aggressive marketing of the accessories on the Internet, in brochures and at special events, he said.
Chevrolet considers accessories essential to keeping the HHR fresh in coming years, McGuire said. "That is an area we are looking at," he said. "Getting the accessories out very quickly, generating more excitement, generating more revenue."
You may e-mail Rick Kranz at [email protected]