All Chevrolet cars will be developed as world cars in future – and they’ll be available in right-hand drive.
General Motors has restructured its product development for the brand, so different global technical centres will have responsibilities for different platforms. This means future Chevrolets will be developed all over the world, including Europe, with less reliance on the GM-Daewoo technical centre in Korea.
Unfortunately, the decision comes too late for the retro-styled HHR mini-MPV, rather optimistically displayed as a ‘concept’ at Geneva, despite already being in production in the US. GM would say only: “Chevrolet is still considering whether to bring the HHR, which combines a distinct design with a roomy, adaptable interior, to the European market.” The display car has a manual gearbox, reflecting European tastes in the segment, rather than the automatic most commonly seen in the US.
The HHR was designed only for left-hand drive but GM has confirmed that the new Camaro will be built as a ‘right-hooker’, which makes sales in markets such as the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Africa as an image-leader for the brand a distinct possibility.
GM in recent months has made clear its Australian unit Holden will be a design source for large rear-drive cars and some of these – in both left-and right hand drive are already exported with Chevrolet’s famous ‘bow tie’ badge.
However, the first products of the new structure will be replacements for the Kalos and Lacetti models. These will be developed in Korea, which has responsibility for the C platform, and future Opel/Vauxhall Astras will share these underpinnings too.
The globalisation of GM’s product development will take five or six years to work through, and from Chevy’s point of view will help iron out the different perceptions of the brand in different markets.