After not so positive reactions of the focus groups, that General Motors first showed drawings of a new design for the Chevrolet Equinox, its top-selling crossover, is bringing some changes for the 2018 model
The 2018 Equinox, which began reaching dealerships this month, represents the first redesign for the nameplate in eight years. Sales of compact crossovers have more than doubled over that span, as the segment rose from 10 percent of the market in 2009 to 15 percent last year. Nevertheless, the stakes for the third-generation Equinox are exponentially greater than the last time around, making its launch among the biggest for GM in years.
GM is turning to younger buyers – more open to switching brands
Its success is crucial as GM works to bolster Chevy’s image and draw in younger buyers who seek the utility and fuel economy that small crossovers offer and are more open to switching brands than their parents were.
“These are the new family station wagons of America,” said Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst with Autotrader. “The segment is huge, and we don’t see any slowdown. There’s definitely room for sales volume growth for Chevrolet. If they can make some inroads with it, that should do well for the entire brand.”
To support the anticipated sales increase, GM plans to make the Equinox at three North American plants, including one in Ontario that’s currently building only the 1.5-liter engine version. GM officials declined to identify the other two plants, but they are expected to be in Mexico, where the company has said it will move production of the GMC Terrain, which shares underpinnings with the Equinox.
At 242,195 units in 2016, the Equinox accounted for 8 percent of GM’s U.S. sales, second to only the Chevy Silverado. But the need for a significant update is clear: It fell from third in its segment as recently as 2013 to fifth place last year, outsold by rivals from Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Ford.