TOKYO - Moving rapidly to benefit from closer ties with Suzuki Motor Corp., General Motors plans in 2001 to build and sell in Asia a Chevrolet-badged car based on a Suzuki platform.
The two companie s unveiled a jointly produced concept car here last month. The car uses the same new Suzuki platform that will be the basis for a joint Suzuki-Opel vehicle in Europe, but the styling was done by designers at GM's Holden Ltd. unit in Australia.
GM and Suzuki agreed to closer ties just over a year ago, with GM raising its stake in Suzuki to 10 percent. The concept car 'is a good example of how working with Suzuki can put you in a fast lane to make things ha ppen,' said Rudolph Schlais Jr., president of GM Asia Pacific.
Indeed, the two companies started work on the concept in July. Because the platform issues were settled based on Suzuki's earlier work, styling was completed in just four weeks, said Michael Simcoe, Holden's executive in charge of design.
The concept car, code-named YGM-1, features compact sport-utility styling. GM also showed slides of concept sketches for a YGM-1-based sedan, van, coupe and pickup.
The YGM-1 was designed for sale, depending on trim levels, anywhere in Asia - from the more sophisticated markets of Japan and Australia, to India and markets even more basic, Simcoe said.
Schlais said that the two companies did not have a final decision on where the car would be built or sold. Suzuki Chairman Yoshio Saito said that Suzuki's Kosai plant is one candidate for a production base.