2013 exciting for ‘car guys,’ Vogel Chevrolet
By Mark Sherry
Mark Sherry photo
Longtime customer and friend Shelly Blonigen visits with Vogel Chevrolet salesman Kelly Johnson during a service visit while also looking over a new Equinox.

For a “car guy” such as Kelly Johnson of Vogel Chevrolet in Kiel, 2013 is shaping up to be an exciting year.

Johnson said he is looking forward to seeing and selling a number of new versions of already popular Chevrolet standards which will grace the lot and showroom of Vogel Chevrolet this year.

Some of those already began appearing last fall, such as the all-new Malibu. “We had great success with that so far,” Johnson said. The Malibu is quiet and roomy. Its four-cylinder engine provides good gas mileage but still has “plenty of zip,” Johnson said.

As is the case with most things these days, technology has come a long way in automobiles and it definitely leaves its mark in the 2013 Malibu. “I compare it to buying a computer five years ago to buying a computer now,” Johnson said. “The technology in the Malibu is far better.”

MyLink radio impressive

One of those new technological features is the MyLink radio. Via the color touchscreen display, MyLink offers numerous features including Bluetooth streaming audio, making or answering calls safely while driving, accessing contact lists, or using the USB port to connect a mobile device or portable hard drive. Johnson said people can even check the gas prices at area stations or area movie theatre schedules as information is updated daily.

MyLink also enables speech recognition that lets the driver use simple voice commands to initiate phone calls, select radio stations or play music from their compatible smartphone, MP3 player or a music-loaded flash drive. All the driver has to do is tap a button on their steering wheel and speak a command. Other steering wheel-mounted controls allow the user to keep their hands on the wheel while selecting music or making phone calls.

Johnson said he is seeing middle age and older buyers of the new Malibu, and that Vogel Chevrolet is pleased with its sales volume of the vehicle.

Of course, it is difficult for any vehicle to stack up to what the Chevrolet Equinox has done since it was introduced. “Our Equinox continues to be number-one,” Johnson said, pointing out that the crossover is currently in its fourth year of its current style.

A popular combination

What has made the Equinox such a popular package—so much so that for the longest time Vogel Chevrolet had trouble keeping one in stock—is the combination of sleek styling, affordable pricing (MSRPs starting at $24,155 for 2013), the power of a sport utility vehicle (tows up to 3,500 pounds), an all-wheel drive transmission and great gas mileage (22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway).

While the Equinox is not changing for 2013—and why should it?—the Chevrolet Traverse has been restyled for this year. “The technology is one thing they upgraded,” Johnson said, including a standard rear vision back-up camera, available Side Blind Zone Alert and a new standard 6.5-inch color touch-screen radio.

The Traverse, however, was really redesigned from the rubber to the roof, as Chevrolet states, and offers class-leading maximum cargo space. Add to all that a new Silverado half ton coming in 2013 and a redesigned Corvette and it is easy to see why this will be an exciting year at Vogel Chevrolet.

In talking about technology and the 2013 offerings at Vogel Chevrolet, Johnson mentioned something many people probably do not know. The OnStar service available in most vehicles over the last decade can be contracted on a month to month basis. Anyone going on a trip who might like the support provided by OnStar— including navigation and roadside assistance—can pay for just one month of OnStar if they wish.

Safety improvements, too

Improvements in new vehicles go well beyond convenience features. Safety continues to be first, with new collision avoidance systems offering forward alerts and lane departure alerts. Johnson said on some new vehicles if the driver has cruise control on and is gaining on a vehicle in front of him or her, an alert will sound.

StabiliTrak is a feature which has been around for a few years now but is becoming more standard. The electronic stability system helps prevent a vehicle’s back end from fishtailing in slippery conditions.

All these features are available at Vogel Chevrolet in Kiel, an uncommon dealership in that Johnson provides “a no-pressure atmosphere. We make sure you get the vehicle you want. I do a lot of ordering. Chevrolet has gotten quicker in the time you get your vehicle. The delivery time has gotten much more consistent throughout the year.”

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