2010 Detroit: Chevrolet Aveo RS is GM’s Fiesta Fighter

How do you counter the buzz surrounding the forthcoming North American launch of the Ford Fiesta? If you’re Chevrolet, you showcase a preview of your next-generation Aveo more than a year before the production version hits the street.

The Aveo RS concept is a heavy hint at the 2012 production car, and it’s slightly longer and wider than the current model. More importantly, while Ford’s new b-segment four-door sedan and hatchback goes for a cute, softly surfaced look, the Aveo is all sharp edges and creases. The RS concept also features 19-inch wheels and center-dual exhausts, a nod to the sport compact tuners’ market Chevy hopes to capture with the new car. It’s a four-door hatchback, although Chevy also has a sedan in the works, as with the current car.

The concept previews the production car’s separate headlamps and dual-round taillamps (signature Chevrolet), large brake ducts in the lower front fascia, rear door pulls concealed in the c-pillars, integrated rear spoiler, and a dual-cockpit interior with a motorcycle-style mini-cluster, and blue stitching on black leather. Chevy design director Mike Simcoe describes it as “a little more room, a lot more refined and a lot more attitude.” Engine in the RS is a 1.4-liter turbocharged Ecotec I-4 mated to a six-speed manual. It begins production early in 2011 in Orion Township, Michigan.

Frankly, it can’t launch quickly enough. Right now, Ford is eating Chevrolet’s lunch on the sales front, with the Fusion (not the Malibu) making the top-10 vehicles by sales volume list for ‘09, and the Fiesta beating the new Aveo to market by about a year. At least Chevy has a slight lead over Ford for Cruze-vs.-next Focus production.

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