The chairman of Chevrolet's National Dealer Council believes the brand is poised to take market share this year on the strength of its rejuvenated product lineup and an uptick in fleet and commercial sales.
Steve Hurley, dealer principal at Stingray Chevrolet in Plant City, Fla., says Chevy's sales in 2013 -- up 5 percent in a market that was up 8 percent -- were disappointing. But he believes Chevy will outpace the industry this year as recently launched vehicles such as the 2014 Silverado pickup hit their stride.
"I really think Chevrolet is expecting every bit of 10 percent growth," Hurley says.
That's not General Motors' official sales target, he says. Chevrolet spokesman Mike Albano said Chevy's rejuvenated vehicle lineup "is attracting new customers and has the brand poised for growth," but he declined to state a goal for the brand.
Chevrolet's market share dropped in 2013, to 12.5 percent, from 12.8 percent in 2012. Some Chevy dealers pointed to disappointing sales of the 2014 Silverado pickup -- the first redesign in nearly seven years for GM's top-selling U.S. nameplate -- which was rolled out beginning in the summer.
Silverado sales rose 15 percent in 2013 amid stronger pickup sales industrywide. But they were outpaced by Ford and Ram, which offered strong incentives to blunt the debut of Chevy's redesigned truck.
Hurley expects GM to enhance incentives gradually on the Silverado to compete more effectively with Ford and Ram. "It won't be a burst, but a slow increase," he said. "It's important for Chevrolet to get off to a strong start in the first quarter of 2014, and the most important vehicle we have is Silverado."
Sales of fleet and commercial vehicles also should provide a tailwind for Chevy sales this year, Hurley said.
GM has said there is pent-up demand for the redesigned 2015 Silverado heavy-duty pickups, which are expected to begin arriving in showrooms by the end of January. In the fall, Chevrolet is scheduled to launch the City Express, a rebadged version of Nissan's new four-cylinder NV200 commercial van.
Hurley says: "With the continuation of the [Express] full-sized van, the introduction of City Express and the new heavy-duty pickups, I think we're going to see a real surge in business."