The General and I have not always seen eye to eye, but I like the Aveo. Some are pleased at the reported 34% market share; I think they do not know what they have and should be targeting a 50-60% market share. Specifically, the Aveo has world class design and world class costs of production. The sole area in which it is weak is in technology. Some in this forum have suggested the addition of a turbo to enhance performance. That is a brain dead idea if there ever was one. Even with a turbo you still have the long throw, rope-a-dope shifter and suspension that leans in corners. Unbalanced performance does not cut it in this segment. What the Aveo needs is world class technology in the engine. Given the remaining product life a new engine is out of the question. On the other hand an updated head may be doable if the costs are reasonable. Specifically, why not go for variable valve timing with the goal of a 2mpg increase in fuel economy. Enhanced performance will not drive this segment wild. A justifiable boast of world class technology backed by enhanced fuel economy will sell lots more Aveo’s. And yes, I do suggest that they reduce the incentives to recover the costs of this improvement. At $1.90 per gallon of regular taking real world fuel economy from 25 to 27 mpg means saving of $56.30 per year. Can they do variable valve timing for $150 and have a 3-year breakeven? I think they could readily reduce incentives by $150 if they could boast of world class technology backed by increased fuel economy. In this segment, an attractively styled, cost competitive car with world class engine technology can get by with the long throw, rope-a-dope shifter and body lean in corners.
Second, The General should give the Aveo the respect it is due. From a portfolio of brands perspective, the General likes to promote a special value Aveo with a price point under $10,000 and then try to upgrade the floor traffic to something else when they visit the store. The sub $10,000 car does not have air conditioning and can not be optioned to include air conditioning. In other words, it is not saleable to 99% of the target market. In Chicago, I saw an add for this car, new, at $6,390 last Sunday. I suggest that they include air conditioning in the special value package, increase its price, and sell the bejesus out of it. In other words, go for a 50-60% market share. It is within their grasp if they are willing to go for it.