BIZ-AUTO-CHEVROLET-DE

The Corvette ZR1 greets attendees as they enter the doors of the 2019 North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center in downtown Detroit. Chevrolet is launching an online showroom where customers can get a personalized tour of a car from a product specialist using the company’s website.

DETROIT — Chevrolet is launching a sort of virtual auto show as part of a new online link that allows consumers to shop for a Chevrolet vehicle.

Chevy MyWay, which is part of Chevy.com, launched Wednesday as a test pilot to train the product specialists who will work one-on-one with consumers. Chevrolet will ramp up the site over the next few weeks to two months.

It is similar to Cadillac Live, which is General Motors’ luxury brand’s digital showroom. There, a product specialist gives a consumer a personalized tour of Cadillac cars.

Chevy MyWay will offer a ‘”virtual auto show” function too so that, “If there are folks in the Upper Peninsula who can’t make it to Detroit, they can go on it and walk the virtual floor to see the vehicles Chevrolet is displaying,” said Megan Soule, Chevrolet spokeswoman.

The expansion into the realm of virtual customer relations is the result of the coronavirus pandemic, which caused most major auto shows, including the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, to be postponed. The Detroit show was pushed back from June 2020 until late September 2021.

Physical experience matters

During a Wednesday business briefing on Chevrolet, the brand’s executives said live auto shows remain important and will not go away.

“We certainly see a role for that physical engagement with the product,” said Steve Majoros, vice president of Chevrolet Marketing. “It means a lot for people to be a part of something bigger and the physical experience matters, auto shows matter and vehicle reveals matter.”

Chevy MyWay will be “a big part of our sales arsenal in 2021 and beyond,” Majoros said.

The Chevy MyWay live tour was staffed from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Wednesday, but is set to expand its hours.

“Consumers will have the ability to join a tour to learn about one of the 15 Chevy models on site,” Soule said, adding they can book a future tour if they visit the site after hours.

As the site moves forward the operational hours will change to 9 a.m. to 12 a.m., Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends, Soule said.

More EVs coming

Beyond that announcement, Majoros said Chevrolet will be accelerating its electric vehicle offering.

“There’s a lot of news happening at (Consumer Electronics Show) next week and there’ll be a lot of news with Chevrolet being a part of it,” Majoros said.

Sales of the electric Chevrolet Bolt jumped 26.4% to 20,754 for 2020 compared with 2019 and the brand has “very aggressive goals in 2021 with both the Bolt and the Bolt EUV,” Majoros said. The 2022 Bolt EUV compact SUV will be on the same second-generation Battery Electric Vehicle architecture as the Bolt.

An updated Bolt and the EUV, which will get GM’s hands-free Super Cruise technology on it, will launch this summer.

Beyond that, Chevrolet will get four vehicles off of GM’s new Ultium battery system. That’s GM’s large-formatbattery with pouch-style cells that can be stacked vertically or horizontally inside the pack. It optimizes battery energy storage and layout for each vehicle’s design.

GM CEO Mary Barra told analysts last fall that Chevrolet will get electric vehicles on the Ultium platform in the form of a pickup and a compact SUV. She has not announced the other two or provided any other specifics on timing.

GM has promised to bring 30 new EVs to market by 2025. Late last year, GMC leaders told dealers that GM will reveal an all-electric GMC Sierra pickup “soon,” as first reported by the Free Press.

GM will launch the 2022 GMC Hummer all-electric pickup truck, built at Factory ZERO in Detroit and Hamtramck, late this year.

GM will also offer an SUV version of the Hummer, expected to be revealed this year. The Hummer Edition 1 pickup, priced at over $100,000, already has 10,000 preorders.