Chevrolet’s innovative Beat, Groove or Trax concepts and an equally innovative market research initiative
By Mike Hanlon
April 3, 2007
April 4, 2007 Three Chevrolet minicar global concepts designed to appeal to young car buyers in urban markets will be revealed later today at the New York Auto Show; the Chevrolet Beat, Groove and Trax concepts. In an innovative move, Chevrolet will take the market-testing notion one step further than normal by asking the public to pick their favorite at a web site designed specifically for the purpose. The results will help Chevrolet determine U.S. market interest in the minicar segment, and which design/capability package resonates best with potential buyers.
All three concepts were designed at GM’s Design Studio in Inchon, South Korea. One of GM’s 11 Global Design Studios, the designers in the Korean center are experts in small car product development.
Built on GM’s global mini architecture, these concepts demonstrate the flexibility, creativity and innovative focus of design in GM’s Asia Pacific region. The Chevrolet Beat concept, a running prototype of a micro import tuner, was built in India; while the Chevrolet Groove and Trax micro urban crossover concepts were built at the GM Tech Center in Warren, Mich.
“The Chevrolet Beat, Groove and Trax concepts highlight the strength and diversity of GM’s Global Design capabilities, as well as the ability of our Global Product Development team to anticipate and quickly meet the evolving needs of our diverse markets around the world,” said Ed Welburn, vice president, GM Global Design. "The design team was so enthused about being given the assignment to develop the perfect small car for urban commuters that they created not one, but three interpretations of how this car may be developed for Chevrolet customers around the world."
Chevrolet is one of four GM global brands, meeting diverse customer needs in 120 countries with vehicles that range from subcompacts and family sedans to full-size pickups and SUVs and iconic sports cars such as the Corvette. The concepts revealed in New York, for example, offer three different fuel-efficient engines, including a diesel.
“The Chevrolet Beat, Groove and Trax concepts have the potential to expand the reach of Chevrolet – already a beloved brand around the world – even further, connecting with young buyers on multiple continents who desire fun-yet-efficient transportation,” said Chevrolet General Manager Ed Peper. “These are the same brand attributes that made Chevrolet a household name in the U.S.”
Designed to evoke the mood of a speedy micro import tuner, the Beat is a front-wheel-drive, three-door hatchback concept built to be personalized, and powered by a 1.2-liter turbocharged gasoline engine mated to an automatic transmission. It’s loaded with technology, including a navigation system and premium stereo.
A “funkastalgia”-themed vehicle too tough-looking to be “cute,” the Groove concept is a retro-inspired vehicle with bodacious fender flares and an upright windshield. It looks much longer than it is, thanks to its short hood and long cabin. The front-drive Groove is powered by a small, efficient 1-liter diesel engine.
An urban crossover concept that’s equally at home on the trails or in traffic, it gets a low-cost all-wheel-drive system and looks the part of a rugged SUV many times its size, thanks to a voluminous one-piece bumper and fender system in the front and back, a rear-mounted spare tire and a roof rack. Trax is powered by a 1-liter gas engine. The four-door Trax is powered by a 1-liter gasoline engine. The upper part of the exterior is bathed in Blaze Orange, while lower corner panels sport a Burnt Orange matte finish. The paint combination provides a look that reinforces the notion this Chevrolet is all business despite its small size.