SEMA News - March 2010

Highlighting Customizing Potential for All-New Global Chevy Cruze

By Linda Spencer

  SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL  
 

The project vehicles and designs attracted positive press attention as well as raves from a number of GM dealers throughout the region. GM’s Devereux recently confirmed that the cars and renderings will tour the Middle East.  

 
To highlight the customization possibilities of the just-released Chevy Cruze in the United Arab Emirates, GM Middle East and SEMA partnered to customize two of the all-new compact global cars. SEMA enlisted two top designers to work on the projects. 

Myles Kovacs, founder and publisher of DUB magazine, undertook the design of one of the vehicles, which was customized with a lifestyle theme and nicknamed “The Blackhawk Cruze.” Ryan Friedlinghaus, star of MTV’s original “Pimp My Ride” and known for his West Coast Customs (WCC) brand and popular “Street Customs” show, went all out to create a motorsports-themed version of the vehicle.

Nearly a dozen SEMA manufacturers created product for these Middle-East-spec vehicles. The cars, along with nearly a dozen renderings of the Cruze by top automotive designers, were unveiled in the GM booth at the Dubai Motor Show. Following a wholehearted welcome from enthusiasts, the press and local GM dealers, GM announced that the vehicles and drawings will shortly begin touring the Middle East. The first stop is likely to be Saudi Arabia. The build has already been the focus of an eight-page cover story in the December issue of Dubai-based Top Performance magazine.

  SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL 
 

GM Middle East President Mike Devereux (left) and SEMA Vice President of Communications and Events Peter MacGillivray answered questions about the collaborative efforts. A press conference on the SEMA project was held on the press day in the GM booth at the Dubai Motor Show. Dubai-based Top Performance magazine featured eight pages of coverage of the vehicle buildup and custom renderings as its December cover story.

   
“This exciting Cruze project highlights opportunities for SEMA companies interested in developing international business,” said Chris Kersting, president and CEO of SEMA. GM expects brisk sales of the Cruze in the United Arab Emirates and the surrounding countries of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, which jointly comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The region has been identified by SEMA as a significant emerging market for the specialty-equipment industry.

There are approximately 8.7 million vehicles in the Gulf region and about 2.6 million vehicles registered in the United Arab Emirates. The people of the region are not only passionate about their cars and trucks but also have the purchasing power to make good on their desire to buy and personalize their vehicles in significant numbers.

“This is an exciting new launch for Dubai,” said Mike Devereux, president of General Motors Middle East. “The Chevrolet Cruze has been developed with all global markets in mind, and it recently debuted throughout the entire region. We are excited to be working with SEMA to help demonstrate the unlimited potential this vehicle offers to enthusiasts around the globe.”

GM has long been a leader in supporting a variety of popular programs between the SEMA and the automakers, including the Technology Transfer program and SEMA Measuring Sessions. The Cruze project takes this collaboration to the next level.
  SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL 
 

A visitor on press day at the Dubai Motor Show admired the interior of the DUB Cruze outfitted with Katzkin tuscany leather with pewter on the wrap. The interior also features Raven Suedezkin perforated centers with a contrasted double stitch and is finished off with an embroidered DUB edition logo.  

   
The Cruze was the perfect vehicle for this stepped-up cooperation. GM is estimating sales of up to 1 million units worldwide of the Cruze in 2010. Customizing opportunities of the vehicle for the industry extend well beyond the United Arab Emirates and surrounding countries, as the launch of the Cruze in the Middle East is only the latest destination for this car, which is built on the all-new Delta-2 platform.

GM has been rolling out the introduction of the new vehicle since the first models, badged as the Daewoo Lacetti Premiere, went on sale in South Korea in 2008. The South Korean-built car is also now being sold in Australia and New Zealand (shipped from South Korea but with production expected to begin soon in Australia), where it is known as the Holden Cruze. The South Korean plant has cranked up production to cover the demand, and the vehicle has gone on sale elsewhere in Asia, Europe, Mexico and Russia, among other locations. The vehicle is branded in each of those locations as the Chevy Cruze.

Sales have been particularly strong in China, topping 92,000 units in the initial nine months of sales. The Chinese model is manufactured in northeast China at a plant in Shenyang. Production of the Cruze is also underway in Holan, India, to support sales in that market. Sales in India began in the fourth quarter of last year.

The U.S. version of the Cruze will be produced at GM’s plant in Lordstown, Ohio. The vehicle is expected to go on sale in the United States in the third quarter of 2010 as a 2011 model. The U.S. version recently debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It will share some commonalities with the overseas models, but there will also be some differences, including unique engine options and safety features.

SEMA members will have the opportunity to participate in Measuring Sessions on the U.S.-spec model once the first cars roll off the U.S. assembly line in spring of 2010.

Participants 

Borla Performance Industries Inc.
www.borla.com

Continental Tire
www.conti-online.com

DUB Publishing
www.dubmagazine.com
Eibach Springs Inc.
www.eibach.com

K&N Engineering Inc.
www.knfilters.com

Katzkin Leather Inc.
www.katzkin.com

 

     

Pirelli Tires North America
www.us.pirelli.com  

Road Wire Automotive Innovation
www.roadwire.com

Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc.
www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA
Street Scene Equipment Inc.
www.streetsceneeq.com

TIS Modular wheels
www.tismodular.com  

     

West Coast Customs
www.westcoastcustoms.com

West Coast Customs Middle East
www.wcc-me.com  

Special Thanks to Jim Cozzie of RTM Productions, Mike Spagnola of Street Scene Equipment and SEMA Chairman Rick Rollins of Rollins Performance Marketing, who saw the potential of this project and dedicated the time and resources needed to get it done. We want to extend our gratitude also to Myles Kovacs, Ryan Friedlinghaus and Dave Dresen and their respective teams at DUB Publishing, West Coast Customs and Dubai-based West Coast Customs Middle East for the countless number of hours readily volunteered to make this project possible as well as the nearly dozen SEMA members providing product and the automotive designers who created customized renderings of the Cruze.  

 

GM International Operations Vice President Steve Clarke (left) and Devereux admired the interior leather and suede makeover on the WCC vehicle provided by Road Wire Automotive Innovation.

SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL 

Journalists from throughout the Middle East region attended the SEMA Cruze press conference at the Dubai Motor Show.

 SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL

SEMA designers and manufacturers collaborated to prepare two first-class customized vehicles. The cars appeared along with nearly a dozen renderings in the GM booth at the recently held Dubai Motor Show.  

SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL 

Devereux (left) and Clarke (middle) admired the SEMA Cruze DUB vehicle. The two GM executives are pictured here with MacGillivray at the conclusion of the press conference.  

SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL 

The lifestyle-themed Cruze was developed by Myles Kovacs, founder and publisher of DUB magazine. The concept was nicknamed “The Blackhawk Cruze,” said John Ramos, director of events and promotions at DUB Publishing. “It’s a flat-black theme, with a blacked-out roof, trunk and hood. We wanted a tuner look, but we also wanted to keep its identity as a DUB vehicle.”  

SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL 

Steve Williams of K&N Engineering said that K&N invested time and effort in the project because it was so close to the company’s core competencies in air intake systems. The project provided a chance to highlight that technology, Williams said, and the Middle East is clearly an area where K&N has customers. “Helping on a project like this expands our visibility,” he said.  

SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL 

Pioneer Electronics USA Inc. provided sound equipment for both vehicles. DUB fitted the upgraded system in “The Blackhawk Cruze.”  

SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL 

West Coast Customs staff is pictured here in its Corona, California-based shop, getting ready to paint the second of the two SEMA vehicles. The motorsports-inspired Cruze was created by Ryan Friedlinghaus of MTV’s ”Pimp My Ride” fame. He is known today for his WCC brand and the popular “Street Customs” television show. “We just put our twist to it,” said WCC’s Alex Anderson. “We added more color, did a chin spoiler and did some interior upgrades. We lowered it and built a custom mesh grille for the front end. The car was a silver blue, and we added a bright blue to bring out the shapes a little more. We also brought the outside colors to the interior to tie everything together.”  

SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL 

Borla R&D Technician Jose G. Sanchez fitted a high-performance cat-back exhaust system that was custom-built for the new Cruze. “We were excited to participate when SEMA asked automotive pop icons, designers and parts manufacturers to customize two Chevy Cruze concept vehicles for the Dubai International Motor Show because SEMA’s two special-edition concepts fit our brand perfectly,” said Borla Engineering Cofounder/Advertising Director Alyse Faber-Borla. “Evidenced again by these projects, Myles Kovacs continues to prove he’s the leader in urban lifestyle marketing, while Ryan Friedlinghaus really captured the essence of motorsports with his version. It was fun to finish them both off with a Borla,” noted Faber-Borla. Added David Borla, Borla sales and marketing manager, “There has been a recent trend among car manufacturers to move towards global platforms, which means aftermarket suppliers can reach a broader audience with fewer part numbers. This further intensifies the importance of having early access to the right vehicles. Having access to vehicles which are popular abroad but not yet available for sale in the United States shortens the time it takes for us to bring our products to market.”  

SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL 

Specialty-equipment wheels, tires and suspension were installed on the DUB vehicle. Sets of 20-inch TIS modular wheels were installed on both vehicles. Pirelli provided tires for the DUB vehicle, and Continental Tire provided the tires for the West Coast Customs version.  

SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL 

An Eibach Springs staffer is pictured here testing the modified springs that lowered the cars approximately 1 inch. Eibach noted that the result is a lowered center of gravity, improved handling and a great new look for the Cruze. As to why Eibach participated in the project, Eibach’s Vice President of Marketing Oliver Rathlein noted, “It is always a good opportunity to work with SEMA and GM. It keeps us in the forefront with new-vehicle applications. And the fact that Eibach is an international company with distribution in more than 85 countries around the world—the international exposure generated by SEMA and GM—helps our customers in the Middle East.”  

SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL 

 

Renderings Outline the Possibilities

In addition to  the two Cruze project vehicles built by DUB and WCC, a number of automotive illustrators created nearly a dozen renderings of custom versions of the new Cruze platform. While the short build time—less than five weeks from the time the vehicles landed in the port of Long Beach until they were flown to Dubai in mid-November—limited the amount of customization possible on the project cars, the artists faced no such limitations. The innovations were produced by Cars by Kris, DUB Publishing, HTPerformance LLC, Hydyne Motorsport, Marketing in Motion, The Sketch Farm, Tangent Design Group Inc. and West Coast Customs. As shown in the accompanying renderings, they created everything from subtle modifications to more ambitious makeovers. 

HTPerformance
www.htperformance.net
Comments: HTPerformance, influenced by the race styling of the WCC Cruze, has refined the styling in this design to win over the hearts of  sports-minded enthusiasts. Enhanced suspension, lightweight wheels, grippy tires and front and rear spoilers greatly improve the handling to make this car a nimble sports sedan. Power and torque are transformed with a top-of-the-line turbocharging system that features stainless-steel exhaust manifold and a ceramic ball-bearing turbo.    

SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL 

Cars by Kris
www.carsbykris.com
Comments: Upon first viewing the Chevrolet Cruze, one can see much potential and several directions that the car can be taken in. I saw an opportunity to make the Cruze look a bit more sporty by taking the tuner approach and designing a sort of “Cruze SS.” I designed custom ground effects, including a custom front fascia with more aggressive styling, chiseled side skirts, a sculpted rear bumper insert, a vented hood and a deck spoiler—all to give the car a more race-inspired look without detracting from the original design. Custom-blacked-out Bowtie emblems and an anodized tow hook were also added for effect. The car sits lower than stock on an upgraded suspension and features larger wheels to round out the customized look.

SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL 

Tangent Design Group Inc.
www.tangentinc.com
Comments: The concept for our design was “enhancement.” The goal was to personalize the Cruze and enhance it without overpowering GM’s original styling. We designed the ground effects to make the Cruze appear longer and lower. When combined with larger wheels and lower-profile tires, it gives the vehicle a slightly more aggressive stance. 

 SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL

Marketing in Motion
www.marketinginmotiononline.com
Comments: Over the top with a complete, new bumper/grille design. Green/black/gray paint scheme, matching interior, carbon-fiber dash, auxiliary gauges and large racing wheels.

SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL 
Marketing in Motion
www.marketinginmotiononline.com
Comments: More of a subtle tuner. Something I see at a dealership or as a factory hot rod. Simple body kit, dual center exhaust, lightweight wheels, intercooler for turbo, copper paint with a ghost graphic.
SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL 

West Coast Customs
www.westcoastcustoms.com
Comments: Ryan Friedlinghaus provided a rendering at the start of the motorsports-themed vehicle. The final version turned out even nicer than the picture!  

 SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL
The Sketch Farm
www.sketchfarm.com
Comments: The Sketch Farm produced three renderings: Euro sleek—Audi-style image.
SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL 
The Sketch Farm
www.sketchfarm.com
Comments: Racing—tuner.
SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL 
The Sketch Farm
www.sketchfarm.com
Comments: Classic Chevy—retro trim.   
SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL 

Hydne Motorsport
www.hydynemotorsport.com
Comments: We wanted to combine some touring-car elements while still having the car be something that’s obviously for the street and not a race car. We also wanted to have all the elements be add-ons so that something like this would be a relatively straightforward conversion and not something that would require extensive bodywork. That is also one of the reasons why we left the original red color and simply added the gray graphics. All in all, it’s meant to look like a factory version of a touring car for the street.  

SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL 

DUB Publishing
www.dubmagazine.com
Comments: Myles Kovacs and his team provided three renderings of the DUB lifestyle Cruze.  

SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL 

DUB Publishing
www.dubmagazine.com
Comments: Myles Kovacs and his team provided three renderings of the DUB lifestyle Cruze.  

 SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL

DUB Publishing
www.dubmagazine.com
Comments: Myles Kovacs and his team provided three renderings of the DUB lifestyle Cruze.  

SEMA NEWS-MARCH 2010-SEMA INTERNATIONAL 

SEMA is eager to assist members to increase their overseas business. Please contact Linda Spencer if you are interested in any of these resources: 2009 data of cars in use in the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf countries; a SEMA-developed database of distributors in the United Arab Emirates; and past SEMA articles on the region.  

 

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