At the Chicago Auto Show: The Family Vehicle

By February 6, 2008General

Traverse.jpgJudging from a limited, one-day sample, the basic “reveal” of a new vehicle at an auto show involves a run-up with loud music, often a preview video, a dramatic unveiling of the vehicle and then a promotional pitch by a top corporate executive, miked and reading from a teleprompter. A very effective presentation, honed across decades of experience.

But to grab attention, you obviously want to try something else. So when GM premiered its the 2009 Chevrolet Traverse today, the core of the pitch came from Sue Wilson, vehicle line executive. The vehicle is a crossover, which to this auto tyro, appears to be a family-style SUV, so it wasn’t just Sue, it was her husband and four children, too.

Sure, a little cheesy, but having the hockey and dance-loving younger siblings and the two teen-age daughters join in the pitch effectively made the vehicle’s selling points: Big enough to carry a family — or high school basketball team — full of safety reinforcements, and stylish enough for the teens. Because people buy vehicles that fit their needs, their many needs.

BTW, the premiere of the Traverse was a PR boost for the Chicago Auto Show, which apparently has a reputation as a truck-oriented show, and which competes with other shows like Detroit for bragging rights. The Dodge Challenger appeared to be the big attraction, and the Acura RL had appeal.

For more on the auto show from a knowledgeable follower of the industry, head to the Auto Blog. Popular Mechanics is also covering the auto show with its customary engineering elan.

And for a larger photo of the Traverse display, click here.

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