Chevrolet on Thursday released the first pictures of its redesigned Cruze, a compact family car due to be unveiled at the Paris motor show in October.

The model replaces in name an earlier five-door hatchback derived from a Suzuki Ignis and sold in Japan and Asia, but the photos show a much larger four-door sedan which goes on sale next spring in the UK and Europe. It replaces the C-segment Nubira which has previously been sold - under various brands worldwide - with hatchback, sedan and wagon body styles.

The new car, which will make its global debut at the Paris motor show in early October, was developed by a global design and engineering team and will be built in multiple locations around the world including Korea and Russia. North American, central, southern and eastern Europe and South American markets traditionally favour the sedan over the hatchback body style.

As just-auto reported early last month, GM had said it was about 4.6m long with "ample interior space and cargo capacity for five passengers", giving it an advantage over competition in the compact segment.

US commentators had noted that's about the size of the current locally-built Chevrolet Cobalt model (which replaced the long-lived Cavalier once also badged as a Toyota for export) and are speculating the Cruze could be its replacement.

GM last month confirmed a new model for its plant in Lordstown, Ohio that would be a 2011 model with a new 1.4-litre turbocharged engine.

It is, the automaker said today, "an entirely new global car, which will go on sale across all continents as one of Chevrolet's core new models."

Chevrolet said the Cruze has "compact dimensions featuring bold styling cues, an arching roofline, sloping rear pillars that give it a lean profile and a neatly styled rear deck providing upmarket and handsome good looks.

At the front, the large, sweeping headlamp units wrap around the nose of the car, while other design themes include a concave shoulder line, Chevrolet's now-trademark two-tier grille and restrained use of exterior trim, for an unfussy appearance.

Inside, the car features a twin-cockpit design, with a distinct centre console dividing the front into separate areas for the driver and passenger - a styling cue taken from various iconic Chevrolet performance cars and also seen in the acclaimed current US Malibu sedan.

"Our goal with the design of the Cruze was to be bold, not evolutionary," said chief designer Taewan Kim. "We wanted to take a big step forward, making a strong design statement for Chevrolet products around the world."

Three engines will be available at launch in Europe - 112PS, 1.6-litre and 140PS 1.8-litre petrol units, both familiar to buyers of GM Europe products, with variable valve timing for optimal power, fuel economy and exhaust emissions, plus a 150PS two-litre 150PS common-rail injection turbodiesel, again a familiar GM engine this side of the Atlantic.

Chevrolet said the new model would add further strength to its (mostly GM-Daewoo-sourced) European range whose sales grew 23% growth in the first half of 2008.

UK sales rose 12.3% in the same period, on top of the 27.6% posted in 2007.

"We are very proud that Europe is leading the introduction for this global product," said Wayne Brannon, executive director of Chevrolet Europe.

Chevrolet added the Cruze "heralds a new era" for the brand in Europe and promised more new models in coming months, including the iconic American-built Camaro.

GM, Suzuki, end partnership