January 24th, 2013 by Steve Cypher

In a bid to show how global the division is Chevrolet shows Americans at the 2013 North American Auto Show just what they are missing

Lost in the luster

Lost amidst the brouhaha surrounding the new Chevrolet Corvette are five other vehicles on display at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show that most Americans will never get a chance to drive – even though they are much more affordable.

In announcing the tease to American drivers (more on that later), Barra, Chevrolet’s senior vice president of Global Product Development, had this to say about their appearance at the show:

“NAIAS kicks off the global auto show season and gives us a unique opportunity to show off the depth of Chevrolet’s global product lineup. The appearance of these five global vehicles further reinforces Chevrolet’s commitment to tailor vehicles to our customers’ needs around the world.”

How could I not accept an invitation like that? So, iPhone in hand, I trudged up the stairs during this year’s media days to snap a few images of the Bowtie’s international lineup of stars which are presented forthwith along with descriptions from Chevy and my own comments:

Chevrolet Trax: All-new Small Sport Utility Vehicle

The Trax is Chevrolet’s entry into the growing small SUV segment and is designed to deliver the flexibility, fuel economy and car-like handling that urban explorers around the world require. A muscular exterior design and wide stance is complemented by interior details executed to standards usually found in more expensive vehicles.

Trax has room for five passengers and class-leading cargo space, Mexico and Canada were the first markets to sell the crossover in the fourth quarter of 2012.

It’s based on the same platform as the Spark and Sonic, so what’s the deal with the Trax? Both Mexico and Canada get it but not the US of A? Honda plans on bringing one here so maybe that will change Chevy’s mind.

Chevrolet Orlando: Redefining Family Transportation

Orlando’s design – part MPV, part crossover – breaks the rules of a historically conservative segment, offering an alternative to many family vans and crossovers on the market. Orlando can transport up to seven people in comfort and is expected to deliver the best fuel efficiency of any non-hybrid seven-passenger vehicle.

The Chevrolet Orlando is produced by General Motors South Korea and was launched in Canada in October 2011.

Rumor has it that Chevrolet isn’t selling the Orlando in the States because it’s feared it will steal sales from the entry-level trim Equinox. After seeing it in person I can see why GM might be concerned – the Orlando is a handsome-looking vehicle with a very up-to-date interior.

Chevrolet Sail: Developed in China for Emerging Markets

The new Sail is a small car designed for young Chinese families who want an affordable, spacious, durable and safe vehicle with good fuel economy. The Sail offers a choice of class-leading 1.2-liter S-TEC II and 1.4-liter S-TEC III engines.  

The Sail was the first passenger car created in China by a Sino-foreign joint venture. It was developed by Shanghai GM and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center.  In addition to being sold in China, the Sail is exported to emerging markets such as Chile and Peru.

Whenever the term “emerging markets” is used in marketing materials, it usually describes a bare bones s__tbox of a car. Bare bones it may be, but its styling, which is vaguely reminiscent of the recently deceased Chevrolet Cobalt, isn’t all that bad.

Chevrolet Spin: Compact MPV for the Urban Motorist

The Spin, which will be manufactured at GM’s facility in Bekasi, Indonesia, and will go on sale in Thailand and Indonesia in 2013 is a seven-passenger MPV designed with a compact footprint for the congested confines of urban consumers.

A bit more austere than the Trax, both inside and out, it seems to me that the Spin might make a great entry-level vehicle for urban Millennial buyers.

Chevrolet Onix: Small Hatchback Tailored for Brazil

The all-new Onix, a small hatchback debuted at the Sao Paulo Auto Show in October 2012. It offers five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions and a choice of 1.0-liter and 1.4-liter engines, both equipped to run on 100 percent ethanol or a flex -fuel mixture of gasoline and ethanol. It features Bluetooth capability along with the Chevrolet MyLink system, a segment first in Brazil, that allows the user to bring songs, photos, videos and mobile phone applications for display on a seven-inch color LCD screen.

Onix is offered in LS, LT and LTZ trim levels, each of which can be customized in “Joy,” “Race,” and “24 Hours” themes with adhesives and appliqués with.  Off-the-shelf art is also available.

The Onix is produced at Gravataí in Rio Grande do Sul and went on sale in Brazil in November last year.

Joy, race and 24 hours themes aside, the Onix, even in high-zoot LTZ trim, is a yawner compared to its platform-mates the Spark and Sonic. Despite its available off-the-shelf art, Brazilians can keep this sugar cane burner.

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