Chevrolet said today at the Los Angeles Auto Show that it will build a minicar based on the Beat concept car. Production will start in mid-2009. The vehicle initially will target markets outside the United States and Canada.
Currently, India, Korea and Latin America are markets that favor that kind of car.
The Beat concept debuted at the 2007 New York auto show in April along with two other concept cars the Groove and the Trax. GM designed all three to appeal to young urban car buyers.
Bob Lutz, General Motors vice chairman, global product development, said the vehicle will be based on a sub-Gamma platform with a four-cylinder engine. It could get 50 mpg or more and it will be assembled in South Korea, Lutz said.
An online poll conducted by GM attracted more than 1.8 million voters to help choose which of the concept cars to take to production. The Beat garnered 875,000 votes, the Groove got 713,000 and the Trax received the rest.
The people have spoken. The vote count tripled all previous GM online consumer surveys, telling us the Beat resonated with customers all around the world, said Chevrolet General Manager Ed Peper in a statement. Chevrolet was overwhelmed by the positive reaction to each of the triplets, but the Beat was the clear winner.
Chevrolet is considering bringing it to the United States at some point, says Chevrolet spokesman Terry Rhadigan.
Were looking at it, but we sell Chevy in 120 countries, and a lot of them have an established market for this sized car, Rhadigan says. Well feed those countries where we know they will sell, all the while keeping a close eye on a business plan for the United States.
Chevrolet will watch how the market responds when Daimler releases the Smart minicar in the United States.
Chevrolet is not announcing pricing and will not comment on expected sales volume.
GM says the production model will carry the spirit of the Beat concept, which is compact, city-friendly and economical. The Beat and the other concepts highlighted in the online survey were developed primarily at GMs Design Studio in Bupyeong, South Korea, with input from GMs global network of designers and GMs Korean partner, GM Daewoo.
Rick Kranz contributed to this report