The Korea-built Spark that debuts in the United States in July will be the smallest Chevrolet ever sold here. It's so small that Chevy executives say they are having a hard time forecasting sales volume for the car.
"We haven't set a specific target," said Cristi Landy, Spark marketing director. "A minicar is new" to the United States. "There are a lot of unknowns here."
Chevrolet is aiming the car primarily at people residing in large cities where a very small vehicle can make the difference in finding a parking space. The Spark is 144.7 inches long, or 5.1 inches longer than the Fiat 500. It is 14.3 inches shorter than Chevy's five-door Sonic hatchback.
The Spark is currently sold in Europe, Asia, Australia, South America and Mexico. The Spark and Sonic were engineered by GM Korea. The U.S. version of the Spark will be assembled in Korea and marketed as Chevrolet's lowest-priced car. Today, the Sonic carries Chevrolet's lowest sticker -- $14,660 for the five-speed manual, including transportation.
It's the powertrain that will distinguish the North American Spark. General Motors' new 85.2-hp, 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine will be under the hood. Other markets offer a 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine.
"In a lot of regions it is exclusively a city car; they never leave a congested environment," said Bob Casparian, Spark product manager. "On our roads, you can quickly find yourself on the interstate. What we were looking for is a powertrain that provides the best balance of power and fuel economy for our road system."
Fuel economy numbers have not yet been released.