TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Chevrolet will go head-to-head with Chrysler in the 2006 model year with a tall wagon, called the HHR, which closely resembles the Chrysler PT Cruiser.
There won't be a GMC variant of the vehicle.
HHR styling, based on an rendering showed yesterday at the Management Briefing Seminars, includes a high hood, low headlights in the fenders and 1940s-era grille.
My guess is it's much bigger (than the PT Cruiser,) said Gary Cowger, GMs president of North America, at the Management Briefing Seminars.
The four-door HHR will seat five and have a flat load floor, a forward folding second-row seat, and a double-overhead-cam, 4-cylinder engine with output that will range between 140 hp and 220 hp. HHR stands for high heritage roof.
GM designer Bryan Nesbitt, who had a strong hand in the design of the Chrysler PT Cruiser at the Chrysler group, worked on the HHR after he joined GM in 2001. But GM said the idea of the HHR project was under way before Nesbitt arrived.
GM will offer a four-cylinder, supercharged, 220-hp engine in the Saturn Ion Redline.
The HHR concept was inspired by the 1949 Chevrolet Suburban, which Cowger called the first true crossover, and the 2004 Chevrolet SSR convertible pickup. But unlike the limited-production SSR, the HHR will be a much higher-volume vehicle.
It will definitely be a more affordable type vehicle (than the SSR)," Cowger said, without revealing pricing.
The SSR has a base price of $41,995 including destination charge.
The new vehicle will be based on GM's Delta vehicle platform, which is engineered for either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive configurations. Suppliers say the vehicle will be built in Mexico, but Cowger would not confirm that.
Cowger declined to reveal production volume of the HHR. He did say GM would make "tens of thousands" HHR's per year.
GM could possibly display the HHR at the Detroit auto show next January, Cowger said.
Cowger also showed the GM's first official photos of the next-generation Chevrolet Corvette. Based on one photo, it will be the first Corvette since 1962 with fixed position headlights.