Chevrolet is considering a minicar for the United States. Chevrolet executives will watch how U.S. consumers receive Daimler AG's Smart minicar to help determine whether a business case can be built for such a car here, a spokesman says.
The Smart minicar goes on sale officially in January. General Motors said last week at the Los Angeles auto show that it will produce a minicar based on the Beat concept, initially targeting markets outside the United States and Canada. Markets such as India, Korea and Latin America already have strong minicar segments.
Chevrolet will start global production in mid-2009 and is "looking at it" for the United States, a spokesman says.
"We sell Chevy in 120 countries, and a lot of them have an established market for this sized car," says Terry Rhadigan, a Chevrolet spokesman. "We'll feed those countries where we know they will sell, all the while keeping a close eye on a business plan for the United States."
GM debuted the Beat concept at the New York auto show in April along with two other concept minicars — the Groove and the Trax. GM designed all three to appeal to young urban car buyers. An online poll conducted by GM attracted more than 1.8 million voters to help choose which of the concept cars to take into production. The Beat garnered 875,000 votes, the Groove got 713,000 and the Trax received the rest.
Bob Lutz, GM 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. It will be built in South Korea.