General Motors is relying heavily on its mainstream Chevrolet brand to help it turn a profit in these troubled financial times. But while the Bowtie brand is still popular in its native USA, things are a bit different in other markets, like Europe or Asia.
As such, GM has recently planned a new strategy for Chevy, which will see sales increase across the board with the help of new models, catered to the desires of each market. One such example is the Cruze compact sedan.
The model has taken Europe and China by storm, managing impressive sales wherever it was launched. But while the Cruze sedan is getting ready to strut its stuff on American shores, European customers will get to see a special Chevrolet Cruze hatchback show car, at the upcoming Paris Motor Show.
“Cruze is turning out to be a real success story,” said Wayne Brannon, president and managing director of Chevrolet Europe. “We are selling it in 70 countries around the world and it has recently surpassed the Aveo as our top selling passenger car nameplate globally.”
As such, he says that developing a hatchback, five-door version of the Cruze was a simple decision, given the popularity of other hatchbacks, like the Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf, on the European continent.
“Hatchbacks play a critical role in many markets. The total compact segment in Europe represents around 4.8 million units which is over a quarter of the total market, with hatchbacks representing around 65% of that volume. We therefore expect to see increased business in a number of regions, while sending out a signal that Chevrolet is now a serious mainstream player in Europe.”
The model set to be showcased in Paris will be just a show car, meaning it’s not yet in production-ready form. Still, you can expect the future Cruze hatch to retain most of the features, except a few eccentricities, like the LED daytime running lights or the large wheels.
Still, the Cruze hatchback is set to become quite a formidable opponent to the likes of the Golf or the Focus. It’s new body-frame integral system will allow it to improve its handling, but still retain the calm composure and stance of the sedan version.
The five-door hatchback will boast a trunk capacity of 400 liters, and will get a folding 60/40 rear bench. Expect the interior, as well as the engine lineup to be practically the same as on the sedan version of the compact model.
The Chevrolet Cruze hatchback will be showcased in Paris at the end of the month. Alongside it, the company has already confirmed the new Chevrolet Orlando MPV, as well as two other surprises.
The Cruze hatch will go on sale in the middle of 2011 in Europe, and prices are set to be revealed closer to that date. The model won’t be reaching US shores, as American customers are infamous for their hate of hatchbacks, as highlighted by low sales of such models. If the Cruze sedan will sell, perhaps GM might reconsider, but until then, the US-spec Cruze will be available with just four doors.