2011 Chevrolet VoltEnlarge Photo
Two weeks ago, TheCarConnection toured GM's design studios for a sneak preview of the future cars and crossovers planned for Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC and Buick. We've shared the Buick 2012 and Cadillac 2012 portfolios with you, but what's in store for GM's moneymaker?
At its core, the 2012 Chevrolet lineup is getting smaller and smaller. And greener. And if you were to see the upcoming versions of the Spark, Aveo, Malibu, Camaro and Orlando we saw in GM's Warren styling studio, you'd see a fork in the design road. The compact Chevys of the future are getting a more blocky, Transformers-informed design language, while bigger sedans like the Cruze and Malibu are growing smoother and swankier and adopting more luxury-car cues.
We don't have some official photos or illustrations--GM is keeping those a secret as it stages new-car introductions throughout 2010 and 2011. We do have some details and comments from GM's styling team and from our mental database, though.
Here's the rundown of the future cars and crossovers from Chevrolet due by 2012:
The new car won't be the Volt or the Cruze - those are already on the docketEnlarge Photo
2011 Chevrolet Spark: The new subcompact Chevrolet is a brand-new vehicle with a more chiseled take on its city-car proportions, than, say, the Honda Fit or Ford Fiesta. Designer Lyon promises some "charming" details inside. The 2011 Spark will be built in South Korea and China; U.S. versions arrive later in 2010.
2011 Chevrolet Viva, to be sold in South America as Chevrolet AgileEnlarge Photo
2011 Chevrolet Aveo: The next Aveo is the new Aveo: there's no name change to Viva, GM interior designer Dave Lyon says, countering a report from another auto Web site. The new hatchback and sedan duo shares the blocky, creased styling gene of the Spark, though the "compelling" sedan wasn't shown in our preview. Styled at GM's South Korea studio, the Aveo is likely to be built in Orion Township, Michigan, as part of a job-preserving deal with the Obama administration and the UAW. This sketch shows the Agile, a version of the Aveo destined for other markets. Sales begin sometime next year.
The new Cruze is already on sale in South Korea and will arrive in Europe almost 18 months before the U.S.Enlarge Photo
2011 Chevrolet Cruze: We've covered the Cruze elsewhere, but Lyon explains its more sophisticated styling language as necessary for the more upscale compact. It's detailed like a luxury car, he says--and markedly smoother and rounder than the smaller cars, to our eyes. It shows up in the second quarter of 2010, and "eventually will replace the Cobalt," which implies some life after death for the current Chevy compact sedan and coupe.
2011 Chevrolet Volt: Shown above, the endless PR and SEO goldmine that is the Chevy Volt enters production in November 2010. GM is now building prototypes in a Detroit plant, in preparation for the launch of the complex new Volt. The hybrid--sorry, extended-range electric vehicle*--has a 230-mpg city economy rating by early estimates under new EPA rules, a publicity claim that's been disputed far and wide across the Interwebs.
2008 chevrolet orlando concept live paris 008Enlarge Photo
2011 Chevrolet Orlando: To be built in Orion Township starting next year, the Mazda5-sized Orlando crossover is spun from the Cruze/Volt architecture. A possible GMC variant in the works; a new small Buick crossover unrelated to the canceled "Vuick" plug-in hybrid could also share some running gear with the Orlando. The 1.4-liter four-cylinder shared by the Volt and Cruze also is a possibility here.