DETROIT -- Chevrolet's crunch time is approaching.
Last year, General Motors' largest division sold 2.6 million light vehicles in the United States, or 54.6 percent of GM's 4.8 million total U.S. sales.
As GM strains to increase its U.S. market share in the next four years, it wants Chevrolet to lead the way by pumping its annual sales to 3 million. Ford Division sold 3 million vehicles in 2002.
To hit that target, Chevrolet is counting on a wide range of new or redesigned vehicles.
Brent Dewar, Chevrolet marketing general manager, says the goal is attainable.
"We hit 250,000 in May," Dewar says. "Twelve times 250,000 - that's 3 million."
May results aside, Chevrolet will have to stretch to hit 3 million. At the end of six months this year, its sales stood at 1.26 million.
But GM is ready to strengthen Chevrolet's lineup by launching eight new or redesigned vehicles through the 2005 model year, including this year's SSR pickup roadster. If the division's sales projections hold up, sales will approach 3 million.
Chevrolet's new or redesigned products through 2005 will be: 2003 SSR: The long-awaited retro pickup roadster will be a low-volume image vehicle for Chevrolet. It goes on sale this summer. 2004 Malibu: The first North American-built vehicle on the new Epsilon mid-sized car architecture, Malibu has to be a mainstream, high-volume success. The car launches this month. 2004 Malibu Maxx: The longer-wheelbase variant of the redesigned Malibu arrives on dealer lots in December. 2004 Colorado: Debuting late this year, the mid-sized pickup replaces the S10. 2005 Equinox: A compact SUV on the Theta platform shared with the Saturn Vue, the Equinox replaces the Suzuki-produced Tracker. Equinox goes on sale in the first quarter of 2004. 2004 Aveo: Built by GM-Daewoo Auto & Technology Co. in Korea, the subcompact will battle Hyundai and Kia in the low end of the market. It arrives in early 2004. 2005 Corvette: The redesigned Corvette, known to enthusiasts as the C6, appears next summer. 2005 Cobalt: The aged Cavalier departs, replaced by a new small car on the Delta architecture. Chevrolet wants to maintain Cavalier's hefty sales but with less price-cutting.