DETROIT -- General Motors launched its redesigned 2007 Chevrolet Aveo today and says it will market it aggressively in urban areas, targeting young minorities.
Chevrolet redesigned the Aveo sedan just 2½ years after its introduction. It has a new exterior and a roomier interior, says Ed Peper, Chevrolet's general manager. The vehicle will have features such as standard side-impact air bags, tilting headrests, steering wheel audio controls and an available power sunroof.
The Aveo has a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine rated at 103 hp. Peper says Chevrolet is trying to balance performance with fuel economy. EPA estimates for the sedan with a manual transmission are 27 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway.
The base price is $12,395, including destination charges.
"It's really important that we have this vehicle," Peper says. He says that 75 percent of Aveo buyers are new to Chevrolet. "We have to get them used to what we do at Chevy and to the brand. It's the idea of get them and grow them."
Cheryl Catton, GM's car marketing director, said the advertising blitz begins next month.
"We'll begin our media launch in mid-September, when we can make sure dealers have more inventory in stock," she said.
Chevrolet plans to build 60,000 to 80,000 Aveos for the United States. GM sold 56,642 Aveos in 2004 and 68,085 in 2005 in the United States.
GM says it will update the five-door Aveo hatchback but has not disclosed a timetable.
The marketing effort will target urban areas where there has been large population growth and Chevrolet has struggled with sales. Target markets include Miami, New York, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Chevrolet will target African-American, Hispanic and Asian consumers in those areas, Catton says.
In July, GM hired Translation Consultation and Brand Imaging to work with its longtime advertising agency, Campbell-Ewald, to help it improve its image in those markets.
"The target audience for the Aveo sedan has grown up with the Internet, and 75 percent of this audience spends at least two or more hours each day online," Peper says. "To reach this digital generation, we need to go where they are."
GM hopes to court young buyers with celebrity tie-ins, a specialty of Translation.
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