General Motors (NYSE:GM) may be mired in a recall scandal, but life for GM's product teams goes on.
GM will have several new or refreshed products at this week's New York International Auto Show. Among them: A lightly overhauled version of the best-selling Chevy in the world, the compact Cruze.
As the recent recalls have reminded us, GM's small cars weren't exactly top-tier products in the past. But when it debuted in 2011, the Cruze changed that: It's a compact Chevy that really can hang with the import-brand mainstays, and sales have been strong.
The Motley Fool's John Rosevear will be in New York when GM takes the wraps off of the updated Cruze this week. In this video, he outlines what he expects to see -- and why the Cruze is so important to General Motors.
A transcript of the video is below.
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John Rosevear: Hey Fools, it's John Rosevear, senior auto analyst for Fool.com. The New York International Auto Show starts this week. Media days are Wednesday and Thursday, and we're expecting to see a bunch of new models. I'll be there with my Foolish colleague Rex Moore.
We'll bring you a video report of the show's highlights at the end of each day, Wednesday and Thursday, and we'll have a bunch of more in-depth reports for you over the next week or so after that.
As of right now General Motors doesn't have any media events on the official auto show schedule, but they are bringing a couple of interesting things to New York, and one of those things is a refreshed version of the Chevrolet Cruze compact.
The Cruze has been a strong product for them, after years of really not very good compact cars the Cruze was released here in the U.S. for the 2011 model year and it has been very competitive with cars like the Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus, they've sold a lot of them in the U.S. and in China and other parts of the world, more than 2.5 million since 2010.
It is is in fact the best-selling Chevy model around the world, and now it's getting what we call a mid cycle refresh. This comes about six weeks after Ford revealed a refreshed version of the Focus, so it's timely.
The Cruze gets a new grill that looks like the one on the current Chevy Malibu, some exterior trim changes, and some revisions in the interior. They've moved some control switches around to make the design more "intuitive", their word.
They've also added what they describe as "enhanced connectivity and convenience features", built around their touchscreen infotainment system. There's a text message alert system that works with your phone and reads your incoming texts to you, and if you have an iPhone there's an integrated version of Apple's Siri personal assistant, you can trigger it with buttons on the steering wheel, you don't need to take your eyes off the road.
There's also a new 4G LTE connectivity option, we've been talking about this for a while, GM is starting to roll out 4G as an option in pretty much all of their U.S. models, you activate it through OnStar and you can have a rolling wifi hotspot in the car, you have to pay for it of course.
They're even going to have an app store, the Chevrolet AppShop, which will offer apps that will, as they put it, "connect drivers to vehicle data, music, news, weather, travel information and more."
Engines aren't changing, at least not yet, but they're still offering the diesel version of the Cruze, sales of the diesel have apparently been quite strong, they like to point out that it's ten percent more efficient than the Volkswagen Jetta diesel and has more horsepower and torque.
So we'll be bringing you a close look at the overhauled Cruze at the show and we'll give you our impressions after we've had a look. Thanks for watching.
John Rosevear owns shares of General Motors. The Motley Fool recommends General Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.