Chevy Turns To Youth To Drive The Future
We chat with Joe Baker, the designer of the Code 130R Concept.
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: January 13th, 2012
Chevrolet made news at the 2012 North American International Auto Show with two concepts aimed at "millennial" buyers, and we spent a few minutes chatting with one of the designers.
Joe Baker, the man who designed one of the concepts--the Code 130R--spoke with us about the car and the design process, as well as the process of reaching out to millenials.
If there's any doubt that the 130R and the Tru 140S that was unveiled alongside it are aimed at the youth market, Baker dispels that notion right away.
"The main driver behind the 130R is younger buyers," Baker said.
That could explain why the rear-wheel-drive 130R is being positioned as an "affordable" sports car with a potential for high fuel-economy numbers. Kids these days can't afford fully-loaded V-8 Camaros, and $4 per gallon gas will likely be part of their lives forever. Or so Chevy is likely thinking.
Indeed, rear-wheel drive is the hallmark of many performance cars, and that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Chevy.
"[A] rear-wheel drive platform takes you to a different place," Baker said. The 130R has been compared to the BMW 1-Series and called a baby Camaro since its unveiling on Monday, and we suspect that Chevrolet might not be all that upset by those comments.
According to Baker, young buyers are attached to their smartphones, and they will not give that up when they are in the car.
"They just completely expect, without question, connectivity," Baker said when asked about youthful expectations. The other item high on the list of the under-30 crowd? Fuel economy.
That's why the concept was previewed with GM's eAssist mild-hybrid system attached to a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Horsepower checks in around 150 and Chevrolet claims a top-end fuel-economy number of 40 mpg. Pricing could start around $20,000 if the car were produced.
Connectivity will be addressed with Wi-Fi and smartphone integration, thus addressing the most pressing issue for the youth of our day.
Baker says the car was designed to meet buyer's needs, and it's not just a flight of fancy, even if GM has made no official plans for production.
Baker said that GM didn't necessarily reach out to millenials with traditional focus groups and other marketing approaches, but rather the company took a look at what kinds of cars that young buyers are browsing themselves.
Cynics will point out that asking consumers what they want and then providing might be a folly--throughout history, new models have failed for just this reason--but with plenty of young buyers out there who need wheels, we can understand why GM targeted this demographic.
After all, you can't drive to work on your iPhone. There's no app for that.Related Vehicles: chevrolet