The next 30 months are going to be busy for those employed at Chevrolet. The General Motors brand will bring several new products to market, and is slated to redesign almost all of its products between now and 2014. Here’s a rundown of what changes are in store, as predictedby Automotive News and our sources.
Spark: Based on the Korean-market Daewoo Matiz hatchback, the Spark will arrive Stateside in mid-2012 as a 2013 model. The Spark is already on sale in Europe and South Africa. When it makes its way to the U.S., the five-door should pack a small -- possibly displacing 1.2 or 1.4 liters -- inline-four engine that could return up to 40 mpg on the highway. It will be built alongside its Daewoo progenitor in Korea and exported to our shores.
Sonic: The Sonic serves as a welcome replacement for the Aveo. Production begins this August, with both a four-door sedan and five-door hatchback on the ordering sheet. The Sonic is far more mature than the Aveo, and is predicted to record up to 87,000 sales annually. Engine choices are the same as in the larger Cruze sedan: a 1.8-liter inline with 138 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque, and a turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four with 138 hp and 148 lb-ft. The sedan is expected to account for about 60 percent of Sonic sales; Chevrolet hopes the hatchback version will compete with the Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta.
Cruze: Chevrolet’s new compact sedan has quickly become a success. Sales last month were up 153 percent versus the Cruze’s predecessor, the Cobalt, making the Cruze the second best-selling Chevy for June 2011. The next step will be the addition of a diesel model, confirmed to arrive here in 2013. The company won’t say what engine will be tapped for the Cruze, but European versions of the Cruze can be equipped with a 2.0-liter inline-four turbodiesel. A mid-cycle refresh of the Cruze in 2014 could also herald the introduction of a hatchback model; a Cruze hatch is already on sale in Europe.
Volt: Although initial sales have been slow, Chevrolet still hopes to sell between 10,000 and 16,000 copies of its plug-in hybrid by the end of 2011. No changes are likely before 2014; for 2012, the Volt received a mild price drop and a few equipment changes. It also will be available in all 50 U.S. states by November, having initially been sold in just a few launch markets.
Malibu: A totally new sedan, the 2013 Malibu is slated to go on sale in mid-2012 and will be sold more than 100 countries on six continents. The main powertrain for our shores will be a 2.5-liter inline-four with 190 hp, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The combo is said to return up to 30 mpg. First, though, Chevrolet will launch the Malibu Eco, the first Chevy to use GM’s new eAssist hybrid technology. As seen on Buick models, eAssist will help the Malibu Eco return up to 38 mpg on the highway. The Eco debuts in early 2012.
Impala: The 2012 Impala gets a direct-injection 3.6-liter V-6 in place of its old 3.5- and 3.9-liter V-6s, as well as a minor grille restyle. Those tweaks will tide the sedan over until mid-2013, when the 2014 Impala will debut. The new car is to be built alongside the 2013 Malibu, as the Impala will ride on an elongated version of the Malibu’s Epsilon II platform. The 2014 Impala will be primarily front-wheel-drive, but all-wheel-drive and eAssist hybrid variants are also possibilities.
Corvette: It seems like every week we hear more rumors about the future of Chevy’s favorite sports car. While it’s unlikely the Corvette’s engine will move from the front to the middle of the car, many signs suggest the Corvette C7’s traditional V-8 engine will be joined by a twin-turbocharged V-6. Sacrilege, we know, but necessary in the face of tighter CAFE regulations and gas prices. Until the new Corvette debuts in fall 2013 as a 2014 model, the current C6 will soldier on mostly unchanged.
Camaro: The next version of the Camaro will debut in 2014. It will switch to the front-engine, rear-wheel-drive Alpha platform that underpins the future Cadillac ATS. First, though, the fire-breathing Camaro ZL1 will bow in early 2012 with at least 550 hp. And if movie merchandise is your thing, Chevy recently issued yet another Transformers-edition Camaro inspired by the action movies of the same name.
Equinox: Chevrolet’s small crossover will go unchanged until either 2013 or 2014, when a new generation is due. It could gain an eAssist hybrid option by 2014. With 149,949 sales in 2010, the Equinox was Chevy’s top-selling SUV/crossover, and the brand’s fourth best-selling vehicle overall.
Traverse: Like the Equinox, expect the Traverse to be redesigned by 2013 or 2014, with a major interior revamp in store for this crossover. A 3.0-liter V-6 engine will replace the current 3.6-liter unit when the new generation debuts around 2016 or so.
Tahoe and Suburban: Despite earlier rumors, these giant SUVs will continue to be built upon GM’s large-truck platform and will not switch to a crossover design. Fuel-economy might be improved by the addition of eight-speed automatic transmissions, and possibly an advanced four-mode hybrid system. The new SUVs will debut atop a new truck chassis by 2014.
Avalanche: This truck will almost certainly vanish after the 2013 model year. It was introduced back in model-year 2002 and sold mostly on the premise of its flexible midgate -- the Avalanche could be configured as a pickup, an SUV, or some combination of both. Just 20,515 Avalanches were sold last year; we doubt it will be sorely missed.
Colorado: The compact Colorado truck will be killed off in mid-2012 when the Shreveport, Louisiana factory that builds it is closed. Will a successor follow? It’s unclear. Chevrolet unveiled the Colorado Show Truck back in March, but hinted the next-generation Colorado it previews was designed for places like Thailand, South American, and other emerging markets. However, rumors suggest that Chevy will sell the next-gentruck in the U.S. as early as 2013.
Silverado 1500: As for Chevrolet’s larger trucks, a number of enhancements will help make the Silverado more fuel-efficient and thus more competitive with the Ford F-150. We’ve heard GM hopes to shave at least 500 pounds per pickup truck by 2016, all while retaining the content and safety features mandated by buyers and NHTSA alike. We wouldn’t be surprised if the new trucks use more aluminum, magnesium, and other lithe alloys in order to achieve that metric. New powertrain designs will also help cut fuel use. GM’s next-generation V-8, which will feature direct fuel injection, E85 capability, and a reported “advanced combustion design” will likely be one staple. Other reports suggest other six-cylinder engines are under consideration, including a turbocharged variant. As with the Tahoe/Suburban, an eight-speed automatic transmission -- perhaps the very one scheduled to be built in Toledo, Ohio -- and an evolved version of GM’s 2-Mode hybrid are expected to be offered. Don’t expect these revisions to happen overnight, as GM executives have previously indicated the company won’t rush the line to market. As it stands, expect the next-gen Silverado to debut in late 2013 as a 2014 model.
Silverado 2500/3500: GM extensively reworked what’s beneath the skin of its heavy-duty pickups for the 2011 model year, so now it’s time for a cosmetic reboot to match. An overhaul is expected to arrive in either model year 2014 or 2015. We’re also told a successor to the popular Duramax 6.6-liter turbo-diesel V-8 should arrive around 2015 or so.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)