As Chevrolet makes a run at returning to the top spot as America’s carmaker, it is looking at all segments of the market, including the spot that seems to be increasingly filled by Korean builders such as Kia and Hyundai: the entry-level small car. So, perhaps not surprisingly, General Motors is leveraging its global capability and is producing the newest Chevy, the 2004 Aveo, in Korea. Specifically, it is being produced by GM Daewoo Auto & Technology (GMDAT), which was established in the fall of 2002, at the Daewoo Incheon Motors plant in Bupyung, Korea. According to Margaret G. Brooks, marketing director for Aveo/Equinox, the small car market represents about 28% of new car sales in the U.S. She says that GM is hoping that Aveo will get them “north of 50,000 units per year.” (It’s worth noting that small cars are generally in two categories: entry and premium. Chevy will go after the premium market with the ‘05 Cobalt, which will be built at the GM Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant.)
Some people may recall the Geo brand that was once available in Chevrolet dealerships. Geo was created in 1989 and rolled out with model year 1991 products. There were the small car Metro (based on the Suzuki Swift), the small SUV Tracker (based on the Suzuki Vitara), and the Prizm (based on the Toyota Corolla). The first two were produced at the Suzuki-GM CAMI joint venture plant in Ingersoll, Ontario; the Prizm was produced at the Toyota-GM NUMMI joint venture plant in Freemont, California. And it should be mentioned that just as the aforementioned vehicles have fraternal twins, so too does the Aveo: the Kalos platform, which has been available in Asia and Europe. What does building the Aveo in Bupyung do for Chevy? Well, for one thing, it provides a car that has a starting price of $9,995.