General Motors will sell the Chevrolet Metro only as a fleet car during the 2001 model year and could discontinue the car after that, according to company sources.
The Metro, one of Chevrolet's original Geo vehicles, is built at CAMI Automotive Inc. in Ingersoll, Ontario, alongside its sister car, the Suzuki Swift. CAMI is a joint venture of GM and Suzuki Motor Corp.
CAMI spokesman Walt Bordian said there will be a 2001 Metro but would not say whether it would be a fleet-only vehicle. Bordian said CAMI is looking for a vehicle to replace the Metro but refused to say when the Metro would be discontinued.
Two company sources confirmed the 2001 Metro would be sold only as a fleet vehicle. After that, the car's future is up in the air, they said.
Suzuki will sell the 2001 Swift as both a retail and fleet vehicle, said Celeste Speier, spokeswoman for American Suzuki Motor Corp. When asked whether there will be a 2002 Swift, Speier said, 'We don't know.'
The Metro was one of the original members of the Geo family of import fighters, introduced by Chevrolet in 1989. Other former Geo vehicles are the Prizm, built at a Toyota/GM joint venture in California, and the Tracker, also built at CAMI.
Chevrolet dropped the Geo name for the 1998 model year.
Sales of the Metro have fallen dramatically since its heyday in the early 1990s, when Chevrolet sold more than 90,000 Metros a year. Chevrolet sold 31,989 Metros in 1999, with more than 40 percent of those sold as fleet vehicles.
As CAMI cuts production of the Metro/Swift, it is moving workers to the growing Tracker/Vitara production line.
Chevrolet expects Tracker sales this year to top 50,000 units, up from 40,024 units in 1999. CAMI also will begin building Trackers powered by an optional V-6 engine beginning in August for the 2001 model year. The current Tracker has a four-cylinder engine.