Chevy Unveils Mostly Forgettable SEMA Show Cars

1:06:00 PM

Opinion:

SEMA is just a few weeks away and Chevrolet has released images of their entire SEMA lineup of "concept vehicles".  According to the Chevrolet's press release: "Chevrolet’s 2015 passenger car lineup is one of the strongest and most competitive in the industry, offering customers a wide range of great-looking, great-driving and well-connected choices,” said Paul Edwards, vice president of Chevrolet marketing.

I get it... it's Paul's job to be positive about the brand, and while Chevrolet has some good looking cars, these SEMA projects look like they spent more time in the committee room than the design department. I generally don't like to write in a negative tone, but seriously GM needs a wake up call. Since all the other automotive journalists suckle at the teet of the automakers and don't want to risk not being invited to the next ride and drive I suppose it falls on me to point out that these are about as lame as it comes when you talk about the automotive madness that is SEMA.  These concepts look like a bunch of 70 year old men are sitting around a committee table, stifling all the creative concepts brought to them while they gum their milk toast and complain about popular music. I am starting to see why De Nysschen has fled to New York City with Cadillac.
  
Crosstown rival Ford has always gone more outside the box with their SEMA cars working with creatives in the industry to produce provocative and ostentatious show cars that push the envelope of the theme or concept. This sometimes goes terribly sideways when they decided to go to production with a Funk-Master-Flex vehicle, but for SEMA you have to pull all the stops.

Even the new kids on the block Kia and Scion take radical or exciting concepts to SEMA every year, partnering with pop-culture icons, fashion brands, and motorsports to create unique concept cars. While the GM booth is something everyone walks through on their way to the other side of Hot Rod Alley, I don't come to SEMA to see a preview of the GM booth at the Los Angeles Auto Show, I want to see cars built to a farcical level. I want to see a Sonic with a monster V8 driving the rear wheels or a Impala turned into a modern version of a old school lowrider. You have to give us something crazy to look at!


Look Milk-Toast Executives at Chevy, those young kids you want to sell Sonics and Sparks to... they like the radical and the ridiculous. Drifting is the perfect example of this, those Camaro's running around the drift track are super cool, some kid sees Tyler McQuarrie sliding sideways in a blaze of burnt rubber and says "Wow I want to buy a Chevy"...but when they find themselves on the lot you don't have anything cool they can buy on a 18 year olds salary. The Spark and Sonic could be cool, but concepts like this are about as uncool as it gets.


Even for Chevy these rides are pretty tame and in my opinion no one will be talking about them at SEMA. I mean really.... the "Sonic Performance Concept" gets a cold-air intake and an exhaust system, "sport tuned suspension" (read lowering springs and shocks), 17" wheels and a stripe that matches the wheels and spoiler... is this 2001?  It's literally lipstick on a pig, since the Sonic needs so much more help in the design department. I think the first question one has to ask in 2014 is why is a 17" wheel consider an upgrade on the "Sporty" Sonic turbo?  If you (Chevy) are trying to sell the Sonic as a blank canvas for the tuners make it cheap and showcase the extremes of what it can become.


The Creative Team at Chevrolet pulled out all the stops with this "concept" called the Black... so you can guess how wild they got...wheel centers...blacked out, grill and headlights....blacked out, paint...black...interior...black. That's and a Bose Sound System round out this dynamic and groundbreaking design. 

This Chevrolet SS Sport Concept, got a red paint job with black stripes and some Holden Wheels that they forgot to swap the center caps on in what they described as a "nod to Australian heritage". Ummm ok... the also blacked out the grill and side vent. Again it not that this is not a great looking car... but its really not innovative or even a concept car. It's a partsbin reshuffle and a trip to the local tint/wrap shop to black out some stuff.

GM I write this not just to heckle your meager attempt at relevance in the automotive aftermarket, but because you could do better. There are hundreds of talented tuners, designers, and enthusiasts...many within your own walls... just let them create cool stuff and have the committee take a vacation for a bit.


Source: Chevrolet

Update in response to an email: 
Now these are not just sour grapes because a concept I pitched them on did not get picked up, from what I heard around the watercooler not many Chevys found their way into tuner circulation this year. I will have cars I did work on at SEMA... but just none of them are Chevrolets.

PS: A Sonic rendering I pitched to build this year for the SEMA show, GM decided it was too radical I guess, with its flared fenders, 19" wheels, Carbon Fiber hood, hatch, front splitter, and rear wing, LED running lights and coilover suspension.



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