A Florida Chevy Dealer Somehow Made the Chevy Trax Cool Using TikTok
Gen Z'ers have fallen in love with the not-so-good crossover.
The Chevrolet Trax isn’t a good car. It’s ugly, it’s slow, and it’s the type of vehicle that sells to General Motors (GM) legacy customers and badge loyalists who have been content to drive their Impala LTs for the past 15 years. Yes, I am fully aware this is the pot calling the kettle black, as I did enjoy owning my mechanically similar Chevy Sonic for years on years. Yet, despite all of its glaring downsides, the Trax has recently picked up some new life on the web. Through TikTok, Stingray Chevrolet of Plant City, Fla., near Tampa has somehow made the Chevy Trax a little bit cool using the power of memes.
Stingray Chevrolet only has around 36,000 subscribers, yet many of its videos regularly crest more than 300,000 views. The dealership’s page combines boomer humor with the Chevy Trax, and the results add charm to an otherwise charmless car. Most videos feature Norm Kniess, a middle-aged man who is amazingly on-trend with the memes. Heck, the whole page manages to be right on target with TikTok memes.
For example, this TikTok references the “Flipping Fergie” meme and viral video. Sometime in 2008 or so, Fergie did three front flips while singing live for the Today Show, and the world will never let her forget it.
It’s not just memes, either. Stingray Chevrolet has jokes and real content. Watch as Norm sits forlorn, on the lot, wishing to be loved.
I reached out to Stingray Chevrolet to ask a few questions about the success of the TikTok Page, and none other than the illustrious Norm answered.
“I was in radio for 31 years, until last November,” he said during a phone call. Laid off from a radio career in Florida, Kniess turned to his friend, the owner of Stingray Chevrolet, who offered him a job as he figured out what the hell to do next. Kneiss started out in sales, which he fully admits he was not all that good at.
This past March, Kniess was nearly halfway through the month, with no pending sales or commissions. As a shot in the dark, he collaborated with coworker Will, a 24-year-old marketing graduate fresh out of college, with some ideas on how to get on social media to promote the dealership.
Initially, the TikTok page was part of a wider, larger strategy. Kneiss said that Stingray Chevrolet is a very large dealer, the sixth-largest Corvette dealer in the country, and had little-to-no social media presence. The first few TikTok videos revolved around advertising deals at Stingray Chevy, including the Trax. The Trax isn’t a beloved car, and the comments sections absolutely hammered on the subcompact crossover.
And yet, that didn’t deter Norm and Will. They leaned into the hate, lampooning the crossover with funny memes and videos. Somehow it worked, and now the Trax has looped around to a strange post-ironic liminal space where Gen Z reveres the Trax despite its uncompetitiveness in the crossover market. Kniess said that people have come to Stingray Chevy, recognized him, taken pictures with him, and even bought a Chevy Trax from him due to TikTok videos. Amazing.
The Trax still isn’t remotely close to being a quality crossover, but TikTok and Stingray Chevrolet have given it a bit more street cred. Give them a follow.
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