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Holden’s Spark, Cruze shape up

New view: Chevrolet's mini Spark is set to make its debut in Geneva.

More images of Holden’s Spark micro-car hope emerge as Cruze readies for debut

13 Feb 2009

GENERAL Motors (GM) has released more images of the Chevrolet Spark mini-car that is likely to be sold here as Holden’s first sub-light model, and confirmed it will soon unveil the Cruze sedan range that will form the basis of Holden’s locally-built small-car range from 2010.

First seen as the Beat concept at the 2007 New York motor show as one of three micro-car concepts created at GM’s Korean design studio, a full range of Spark images have now been issued in addition to the single image released at last month’s Detroit motor show.

As we reported then, Holden is keen to add the five-door Spark micro to its range, and is already on record as saying it intends to build a full range of vehicles based on GM’s Delta global small-car platform, in the form of a ‘localised’ version of the Cruze – including both four-door sedan and five-door hatchback bodystyles.

The production Spark hatch and Cruze sedan will both make their world premieres at the Geneva show on March 3, and the latter will be available in the UK from July with 1.6 and 1.8-litre petrol engines, plus a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel.

137 center image The Spark, meantime, is expected on sale in Europe from January 2010 (and will also be sold in the US, India and “other core markets”), powered by 1.0 and 1.2-litre petrol engines and, possibly, 1.3-litre turbo-diesel and even supercharged 1.6-litre petrol engines.

Pitched at European-market ‘superminis’ including the Hyundai i10, Kia Picanto, Ford Ka and Suzuki’s 1.0-litre Alto hatch, which is confirmed a confirmed starter as Australia’s first sub-light model, the Spark appears odds-on to hit Holden’s local line-up beneath the light-sized Barina five-door (priced from $14,790).

GM Holden chairman and CEO Mark Reuss told GoAuto at last month’s Detroit motor show: “The Korean-based small cars that we are developing are world-class cars, so – absolutely – we are very interested in having them for Australia.

“I don’t think it is too small for Australia at all.” Holden spokesperson Kate Lonsdale this week told GoAuto the Spark, which will replace Daewoo’s Chevrolet-badged Matiz light-car in other markets and could eventually be joined by Toyota’s new iQ mini-car here, is not yet confirmed for sale in Australia, but remains the subject of enthusiastic discussion at Holden.

“We haven’t announced anything in the mini-car segment and we have no confirmed plans to launch the Spark here,” she cautioned, before adding: “But it’s a great looking car and I think we will certainly be taking a look at it. It’s definitely worth looking at – we’d be crazy not to.” Ms Lonsdale said the Spark was “very much a globally designed vehicle, with the AP (Asia-Pacific) region involved”. If approved for sale here by Holden, she said the Spark would represent “a new segment (opportunity) for us”.

Sales of the Korean-built Barina hatch and sedan, which was previously sold here as the Daewoo Kalos and is about 240mm longer than the Spark even though the Spark’s 2375mm wheelbase is just 105mm shorter than the Barina’s, fell by 15 per cent in 2008.

While a new-generation Barina is also imminent, Holden’s locally-built Cruze will next year replace the Korean-sourced Viva (previously available here as the Daewoo Lacetti), sales of which were down 20 per cent last year.

Holden appears to be less keen on the Chevrolet Orlando seven-seat people-mover concept that appeared at Paris last October and will be revealed in production guise alongside the Spark and Cruze.

“We have a very nice package (in the Orlando) but, you know, that market and that segment is fragmented in Australia,” Mr Reuss told GoAuto at Detroit.

“You can have everything from a station-wagon to a people-mover like the Honda Odyssey ... so there is a lot of different classes that end up being brought in from different places.

“So we have to really, really understand the demand for something like that in Australia, and I think we are in the process of looking at the market for that and what people are looking for (in that segment).”

Read more:

Holden eyes Spark and Orlando

The Road to Recovery podcast series

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