Chevy customizes the test drive

"Best Cruze Ever" aims to build excitement by making the test drive more convenient and personalized.

General Motors Canada wants to create more excitement among millennials for the Chevrolet Cruze by bringing a test drive to them, no matter where they are in the Greater Toronto Area.

By going to the “Best Cruze Ever” microsite, residents of the GTA can sign up for a test drive in a 2015 Chevy Cruze that’s been customized to their tastes. Potential drivers can schedule their preferred date and pick-up location, where a “Cruze Guide” will come to them, ready with a playlist of their preferred music genre, their favourite snack and beverage and room for up to two friends to come along.

Jason Easton, director of sales, service and marketing for the GTA at General Motors, says the Cruze is an ideal vehicle to market to young urban drivers because of characteristics like it’s smaller and easy to manoeuvre in downtown streets and is fuel-efficient enough to fit within a budget. The 2015 model also has features that appeal to a more tech-savvy consumer, like built-in Wi-Fi.

“Way too often, we’re pushing things onto our customer base, but in this case, we put ourselves in the shoes of our millennial consumers to see what they actually want,” Easton says. “What we came up with is the concept of making the whole experience feel familiar to the consumer before they’ve even stepped into the car, and to go where they are already going to be instead of trying to pull them into the dealership.”

To promote the program, Chevy partnered with Toronto-based YouTube creators Gunnarolla and SidePonyNation to give the program a try.

Chevy is also running a pop-up at 501 Queen St. West in Toronto, where visitors can sign up for a test drive, get more information about the car and enter a contest to win a free vehicle. The program is also being promoted with a digital media buy targeting residents of the GTA. The campaign was handled by Isobar and MacLaren Momentum, with Carat on the media buy.

First launched in Canada in 2010, the Chevy Cruze will introduce its second generation model this coming spring. While showcasing the features of the current model, Easton says the campaign is also looking to build similar levels of excitement around the Cruze brand as before its original launch.

“There was buzz around the launch and the car did well in the market, and even won Canadian Car of the Year [in 2011 from the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada],” Easton says. “But we’re launching a new model in the spring, and as Chevy undergoes its own brand journey, this is one step in the new positioning for the vehicle and the brand as a whole.”

General Motors is monitoring the results from the program to explore the possibility of running the “Best Cruze Ever” program in other cities in the future. But for the time being, Easton says the goal is to be highly focused on the GTA and the downtown core in particular, based both on the suitability of the car for downtown driving and the fact that urban residents are more likely to appreciate the ability to get a test drive without having to go to a dealership.