Chevrolet is planning to scoop 1% of the UK market by 2009, thanks to a new model offensive featuring three new cars.


According to Chevy’s UK managing director Rory Harvey, the company is headed for “comfortably over 30,000 sales in 2009”, which will easily take it past 1% of the market.


This rapid ramp-up to more than double last year’s UK sales of 14,381 is gathering pace with this week’s launch of the Captiva soft-roader, like all Chevy UK’s new models built in Korea in ex-Daewoo factories now part of the GM-DAT organisation controlled by General Motors, but also involving Suzuki and SAIC of China.


The Captiva will help take Chevy’s registrations in the UK towards a forecast 20,000 units this year.


Next year, in 2008, will come the first of the three vital new models – a new B-segment supermini as a replacement for the Daewoo-era Kalos.


Likely to be called Aveo, like the four-door model already on sale in continental Europe and the US, the three- and five-door hatchback Aveo will be a re-skin of the Kalos platform and supplied from Poland.


It will also feature a small capacity diesel engine, possibly a three-cylinder 1.5-litre version of Daewoo’s new 2.0-litre DI unit.


Although the GM links with Fiat through its Italian-based powertrain joint venture might have suggested the 1.3-litre Multijet was a contender for the Aveo, Fiat is understood to have blocked the use of its technology in the Korean import in Europe.


The new Aveo is tipped for launch at December’s Bologna motor show this year (Italy is Chevy’s biggest European market) with UK sales starting in March 2008.


Harvey expects sales in 2008 to reach “around 24,000 units” – enough to break through the 1% level in a UK market likely to range between 2.2m and 2.4m.


Two significant new models will ensure that sales accelerate well past 1% in 2009 — a new Matiz city car and replacement Lacetti family hatch.


Both are expected to be launched around the end of 2008/early 2009 and may contribute to sales for a significant part of 2009.


The Matiz is an all-new car and gets longer, wider and higher thanks to the latest latest Korean city car tax regulations, which have dictated the more generous dimensions of the car’s key competitor in the home market – the Kia Picanto.


Styling of the new Matiz is expected to be a blend of the look of the Beat and Groove concepts revealed at the New York show this year.


Expect the body and headlights to follow the look of the Beat and the grille and nose to come from the Groove. Both three and five-door body styles will be available.


Boosting sales further will be the replacement for the Lacetti, which is expected to ditch its Daewoo-era name in favour of something punchier.


After deliberating its platform strategy in 2005/06, Chevy is understood to have canned a plan to reskin the cheaper Daewoo-era platform in favour of GM’s global Delta platform, although possibly with a cheaper twist-beam rear axle than the multi-link design expected to be used by Opel/Vauxhall’s Astra version of the platform.


If these models go well and Chevy gets extra sales from new diesel versions of models like the Aveo hatch, it will be pushing towards the magic 2% of the UK market by 2010/12 – around 48,000 units.


Two further models will help with this — a compact 4×4 that’s a cut-down version of the Captiva with styling derived from the T2X concept and pencilled in for a 2010 launch.


Further out, a halo-model sporty coupe likely to be based on the global Delta platform is in the product plan around 2012 — a long way off maybe, but a key part of Chevy’s expansion strategy to double its coverage of key segments of the European market from 5.9m to 11.8m units by 2012.


Julian Rendell