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Chevrolet SEMA 2018

Come visit the Chevy booth! There's lots of room to walk around!

Zane Merva

Executive Editor / Publisher , GM-Trucks.com

11/02/18

 

The Answer

We're killing Betteridge's law of headlines. Yes. 

 

The Setup

Arrive at SEMA and the first thing you see and hear is the sound of Ford Mustangs and F-150 Raptors in the front parking lot giving hot laps and jumps to convention goers. All in front of a HUGE crowd.  In the back parking lot, Kia was also offering hot, tire squealing rides in the new Stinger. Both events had long lines and awestruck crowds. From the outside, SEMA could have been seen as a Ford and Jeep Show. Ford product was everywhere. Wranglers were in every booth. 

 

PPG Booth Camp Wannapaintem SEMA 2018

PPG's booth changes every single year and dazzles with detail and color

 

The Competition

Inside, Ford's display included dozens of cars, concepts, tricked out race Mustangs, and super lifted F-150s. Toyota had a lineup that attracted attention and whispers SEMA wide, a lineup of every generation Supra, including the new one. Mopar's booth (Chrysler, RAM, Dodge) was vibrant, alive, and interactive. And packed. 

 

MOPAR Booth SEMA 2018

Rich, interesting, vibrant. The booth pulls you in. MOPAR always kills it. 

 

The Home Team

Then, there was Chevrolet. No interactive experiences, same booth from the last 10 years, no true concept vehicles, and the predictable COPO Camaro. Sure, there was a few 2019 Silverado and Colorado with Chevy Performance Accessories, but you'd be hard pressed to know that unless you looked at the detail card in front of each vehicle.  The redesigned Camaro was showcased next to the COPO Drag Camaro and eCOPO electric Drag Camaro. But everyone was confused. Was this the actual production look? Or would Chevy change the design again? The all new Blazer made an appearance but in pre-production trim only and looking way too good to come off an assembly line. 

 

Chevrolet canceled it's 10+ year streak of Pre-SEMA kickoff parties this year, leaving media and enthusiasts in the dark about what the company was truly proud about. I personally attempted to get a rundown of the vehicles that would be on display weeks ahead of the show. My request was only replied to after three follow ups. Even then, the company representative only told me there wasn't a kickoff event and nothing about what the brand was showing off. Okay then. Before we even touched down in Vegas it was apparent Chevy didn't care too much about the show this year. 

 

2018-10-31 12.20.53.jpg

The crowd trying to photograph the line of Supra was intense

 

The Show Vibe

Aside from manufacturer's efforts to wow and dazzle SEMA-goers, the amount and types of vehicles on display in the independent booths also set the vibe for the show. In years past, Chevy killed it in this regard. During the launch of the 5th-gen Camaro, the new model was in almost every booth. Same with the 2014 Silverado. Independent accessory manufacturers wanted and needed to have those new models in their booth to attract customers. 

 

Chevy booth SEMA 2018

This was the coolest thing in the entire Chevy booth. A 1978 "Silverado Concept"

 

This year, despite the biggest truck launch of Chevrolet's existence, the 2019 Silverado was a rare beast to find in the halls of SEMA 2018. Only twenty 2019 T1XX pickups were to be found in the Truck/Off Road section. Now, compare that to hundreds of 2019 RAMs and Jeep Wranglers. (The 2019 Wrangler killed it this year and was EVERYWHERE). Large companies like Truck Hero and Lund had one or two 2019 Silverado but three or four 2019 RAM and maybe ten Wranglers. 

 

2018-10-30 11.42.53.jpg

Yay, we found one!

 

What Should Have Happened

Chevrolet missed a giant opportunity this year at SEMA 2018. At minimum, the brand should have:

  1. Taken Toyota's cue and had an "every generation" lineup of pickups.  The photo opportunities would have been amazing and the foot traffic would have been through the roof. 
  2. Never canceled the customary kick-off welcome event for enthusiasts. Just omitting that one opportunity to pump up the brand gave no room for excitement to take off before the show. 
  3. Expanded or embellished the booth. Chevy's footprint was underwhelming and pedestrian compared to even smaller industry players. 
  4. Continued to offer their Camaro/Corvette hot lap experience to get show goers excited.
  5. Pushed 2019 Silverados out to independent companies for display like candy is given to kids on Halloween. 

 

2018-10-31 08.52.00.jpg

"It's a wide non-descript wall of parts with super high prices" could have been Chevy's theme this year. 

 

Did Chevy botch this year's SEMA Show? Yes, I think so. But.... Only the brand can tell you if they got what they were looking for. As an enthusiast, I left wanting more. Much, much more. 

 

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Sounds to me like Chevy dropped the ball.  SEMA is all about exposure.  Not sure what they were thinking considering the cost of advertising these days and how big this event is, to me this is one you would not want to skimp on.  

 

I still have not seen any new 2019 Silverado commercials on TV, just the ones online. 

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Chevrolet has been dropping the ball for a while now.  The 2019 "new" Silverado is a disappointment at best.  Ford and Ram have been bringing their "A" game, especially from what I have seen at 2018 the Sema show.  As a potential truck buyer, Chevrolet is third on my list.  They claim to use focus groups and I think they are the same ones that choose automatics in Corvettes.  

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Sounds about the norm for Chevy these days. 

 

They don't want you to be excited about the T1.  Not yet anyways.

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Maybe they are getting too cocky based on sales volume and dollars.

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I have seen that 78 reg cab for the last 5 yrs or so at various shows (Indy 500, nhra etc). It’s cool but not new and innovative. I did like they had an electric copo. Very different. Bet it caught some people’s attention


Ryan B.

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Perhaps, The show is not open to the general public and access is "supposed" to be for SEMA-member, aftermarket businesses only. IMHO, Auto manufacturers should be there peddling their accessory catalog and performance parts, not new vehicle sales.

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Shoulda filled the joint with the new Blazer GTZL1 AWD SUV Ultimates.

 

Oh; wait.  There aren't any.  And will never be.

Alas.

 

JMO

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1 minute ago, jps4jeep said:

Perhaps, The show is not open to the general public and access is "supposed" to be for SEMA-member, aftermarket businesses only. IMHO, Auto manufacturers should be there peddling their accessory catalog and performance parts, not new vehicle sales.

But in practice, 99% of the people walking the show are there as enthusiasts, not actual buyers. Don't get too tied up on the "industry only" language. 

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Quote

Did Chevy botch this year's SEMA Show? Yes, I think so. But.... Only the brand can tell you if they got what they were looking for. As an enthusiast, I left wanting more. Much, much more. 

 

GM did let you down.  I don't think I would have left SEMA feeling the same.  I recognize the value in advertising but for me there is a point where excessive glitz has a negative impact.  I like to buy popular items but I tend to avoid those that are in my face at every turn just because they are in my face at every turn!  Whenever I attend such a fair and a business has obviously spent a huge proportion of their advertising dollar, I think of an economics lesson my father taught me when he was looking to trade-in his two year old '61 Bel Air.  I asked him if he was going to xxxx Dealership.   This particular GM sales location had an excessively huge  sign that could probably have been spotted by John Glenn on his initial orbit.  He said he would not consider buying from that dealer because he refused to pay for their sign!

Edited by Donstar
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GM has been tightening up since Barra arrived and is turning into what Toyota was 5-10 years ago.  There is no more passion from GM.  They are only concerned with making the most profit per vehicle by stripping features and delivering vehicles for car buyers that see them as just a car or truck to get from point a to point b.  They are no longer going after the enthusiasts.  If I was to buy a new truck today GM would be at the bottom of the list.  Ford and Ram have got the right formula going with their trucks. Even GM cars and crossovers are blah.  The only thing GM makes right now I would have interest in buying today is the Camaro ZL1.

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Typical dropping the ball thinking that the current or past customer base will keep them going.

Meanwhile, RAM picks up more potential first time buyers than GM.

This is where GM goes south on their future.

Still no commercials on T1. Still seeing K2 commercials and rebate pushes instead of new T1 advertising.

They just recently launched online build at the Chevy website.

 

This should have been at SEMA:

 

 

Untitled-2.png

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54 minutes ago, Payton34 said:

 There is no more passion from GM.  They are only concerned with making the most profit per vehicle by stripping features and delivering vehicles for car buyers that see them as just a car or truck to get from point a to point b.  They are no longer going after the enthusiasts.

 

A couple years ago, I might have made a similar statement, but then GM unveiled the ZR2, ZR2 Bison, and now a catalog full of (high priced) GM performance parts for turning your ZR2 into a Hall Racing rig.  There's a little passion fueling those moves I think.  It's great to see, after GM neglected the off road market entirely for many years. 

Edited by rkj__

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5 hours ago, DougFL said:

Apparently they are not concerned since they just had $2.5 Billion Profits in the 3rd Quarter!!

 

https://www.gminsidenews.com/articles/gm-beats-expectations-records-2-5-billion-3-quarter-profits/

That is the problem. It should have been at least 5 billion. Major cost cutting is underway to get the profit numbers up to where they need to be. 16k employees are feeling the heat to right the ship.

 

As far as SEMA it is a no go, GM is switching to survival mode as the are seeing "headwinds" as Mary called it.

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