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October 24, 2016

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Home » Business » Autotalk Special

The new Camaro: ‘thrilling, visionary, refreshing’

SEPTEMBER, the start of autumn, was probably the hottest time for Chevrolet this year in China.

It reported its first year-on-year sales growth, after seven straight months of downturn in a tough product transitional period. At Tomorrowland in Shanghai Disneyland, it introduced the sixth generation of its Camaro pony car and unveiled Tron Realm, Chevrolet Digital Challenge, as the newest attraction for the theme park.

Thrilling, visionary, refreshing. The brand that had gradually lost its appeal as merely an entry-level General Motors choice in this country is striving to regain its endearing charm — that is, being young and promising.

The most exciting offer is undoubtedly its new performance car. In China, which shares little of America’s “muscle car” tradition, the name Camaro can still make a stir. The blockbuster movie series “Transformers” has personified the car into a well-known heroic character.

“Everyone has a Camaro story,” said Ken Parkinson, vice president of design at General Motors China and International, recalling his “love at first sight” 40 years ago. “There are few cars in American history that can elicit so much passion and have so many cult-like followers.”

While honoring its adrenaline-pumping reputation, the car seeks to become more fuel efficient. It adopts a new lightweight structure that sheds 71 kilograms and also its first-ever turbo-charged engine. It is a popular engine downsizing trend that saves energy, even though it goes against a muscle car’s instinct.

Wang Yongqing, president of SAIC-General Motors, said 2016 is a critical year for Chevrolet to build up its product line, which also includes the new Malibu XL, Cavalier, launched earlier this year.

General Motors just announced last week that it will start a product offensive of more than 20 new or refreshed Chevrolet cars for China by 2020.

And all those will come on top of a reinforced image. It will be based on three cultural experience platforms in China: sponsorship of the Manchester United football club, volunteer initiative Red Chalk and entertainment sponsorship at Disneyland.

Tron Lightcycle Power Run, the fastest ride in the park, is presented by Chevrolet, with a motorcycle taken on a roller-coaster that goes through a high-tech universe.

And beside it is an interactive realm for future transportation, known as the Chevrolet Digital Challenge. In the “Imagine” zone, guests can virtually put on a Light Suit and drive through the world of Tron. In the “Design” zone, one gets to create next generation vehicles. In the “Drive Zone,” a Tron Light Runner is ready for whoever gets into the seat of a Chevrolet-inspired Driving Pod.

Tron Realm also presents three new concept vehicles from Chevrolet -- Qing Yi, Ling Si, and Guang Suo. They all feature cutting-edge driving dynamics and connectivity, along with a futuristic touch to their names.

The point is to look the part, as a brand for the future.


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