General Motors’ new European budget brand Chevrolet is consolidating its strong early performance since replacing the Daewoo marque with a gaggle of new model releases beginning at the end of the year.
At the Frankfurt motor show Chevrolet will display the booted version of the Kalos (pictured right in autocar.co.uk’s spy shot). While the new car itself – badged Aveo – will be of little interest to UK buyers as it will not be going on sale here, its new look previews that of the facelifted Kalos hatch due late next year and also likely to wear the Aveo name in Chevrolet’s move for more Euro-friendly badging. Major change for the Kalos replacement will be its new 85bhp 1.5-litre diesel engine, due in 2007.
But key for Chevrolet’s future will be its two big launches of 2006: its first SUV and its first diesel engine. The production version of the S3X off-roader is likely to be one of the stars of the Brussels motor show; it is expected to differ little from the concept car apart from conventional lights in place of the concept’s LED items and a new Euro-friendly name. It will come in both two- and four-wheel drive versions, with seven seats to the supposedly more upmarket Vauxhall/Opel version’s five.
The engine range consists of an entry-level 120bhp 2.0-litre four and a Korean-sourced 170bhp 2.7 V6 petrols, along with the debut of the Korean-built 155bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel, jointly developed by VM Motori and GM Powertrain. This new engine will also be available in 120bhp form for use in smaller Chevrolet models such as the Lacetti.
Further offerings for 2006 will be Chevrolet’s first sports saloon, a supercharged version of the Lacetti with 170bhp and suspension tuned by Ray Mallock Ltd, the people behind Chevrolet’s World Touring Car programme. Badged Lacetti WTCC R+, the new car is pitched towards the Citroen C4 VTS and forthcoming Skoda Octavia vRS, but its confirmation depends on its compliance with European impact and emissions regulations.
Chevrolet’s Mondeo rival will take a bow at the Geneva motor show before going on sale in August. Based on the current Evanda, the much-revised car will feature a new name, revised interior and suspension and a new, S3X-style nose. The engine range includes the new diesel along with 2.0-litre four, and 2.0 and 2.5-litre compact straight sixes.
For further expansion of the range Chevrolet is looking into its global portfolio, with the retro-style HHR from the USA and a small pick-up from Brazil currently under consideration.