General Motors has won a UAW agreement that it says will allow it to build the Chevrolet Aveo profitably in the United States, which would be no small feat.
But GM has two remaining challenges with the Aveo.
• Challenge No. 1 -- The name. GM is considering a name change, and I say: Just do it! The Aveo got very limited marketing support, so it's not like you're replacing a marketplace icon.
Why change? “Aveo” puzzles people. I still hear it pronounced two different ways (accenting the first syllable vs. the second). Also, GM would be smart to distance its new subcompact from the undistinguished quality record of the Aveo.
That leads us to …
• Challenge No. 2 -- Quality. When GM plucked the Aveo from the ruins of Daewoo, it was seen as a Korean budget car to battle Kia and Hyundai in the low end of the market.
But the B segment has changed. The Japanese Big Three brought in subcompacts – the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit and Nissan Versa -- that sold on brand reputation and quality, not just low price. Then Ford launched the Fiesta, a nicely appointed European-style small car.
Today there's much stiffer competition in the segment. GM needs to match it.