Three months after Volkswagen launched the first Brazilian-made vehicle with a flex-fuel system engine, the Gol Total Flex, General Motors do Brasil has responded with a rival model, the Chevrolet Corsa Flexpower in hatchback and Brazilian-designed sedan versions, writes Rogério Louro.

In conjunction with Delphi, GM do Brasil developed a flex-fuel system that allows the ‘Powertrain’ 1.8-litre eight-valve engine to run on petrol, alcohol or a blend of the two. Power output varies between 105hp and 109hp depending on the fuel used.

Following the launch of the 1.8-litre flex-fuel engine, GM Brazil is stopping production of its 1.8-litre petrol Corsa. In contrast Volkswagen is still selling its 1.6-litre petrol Gol following the launch of the 1.6-litre flex-fuel version.

GM expects that adding the Flexpower version will increase sales of 1.8-litre Corsas from 800 units per month to about 1,000.

At the end of the year, GM will also launch a 1.8-litre flex-fuel version of its new Chevrolet Meriva, the GM Europe-designed ‘mini minivan’ first launched in South America and now being rolled out in other markets with Opel and Vauxhall badges.

GM do Brasil now plans to sell flex-fuel versions of all its range, including the (also GME-designed) Astra, Vectra and Zafira.
Fiat and Ford, too, are preparing to launch flex-fuel vehicles in Brazil. Fiat will introduce flex-fuel versions of the Palio and Siena while Ford is developing a version of its Ford of Europe-designed Fiesta model.

Volkswagen will also extend flex-fuel engine availability to the Parati station wagon and the Gol-based Saveiro compact pick-up.