Add $200 to the price of a Chevy HHR and you can get yourself a modern-day two-seater panel wagon. Chevrolet says pricing for the Panel will begin at $16,750 "for a well-equipped LS model." The LS has the 2.2L 149hp engine. While the official press release claims the HHR Panel is rated at "30 mph in highway driving" we seriously hope they mean 30 mpg in highway driving. It'll also be available in an LT version which has the 2.4L 175hp engine, also rated at 30 mpg. No official word on LT pricing, though Velocity Journal says it will come in just over $17,500 with the no-option LS costing just $15,800.

With no rear seats to get in the way, the flat panel floor will accept more than 57 cubic feet of stuff, while an under-floor storage area takes five cubic feet more. Tie-downs are available, of course, to keep those cubic feet of cargo from sliding around.

At those prices, Chevy will definitely sell a few Panels, though the versatility of a two-seater wagon to most folks is questionable. We can, however, see this being the stylishly economic choice of large and small businesses alike. And we certainly can't wait to see what the customizers can do with it.

Read GM's full press release after the jump.

[Source: GM, Velocity Journal]

From the GM press release...

DETROIT – Chevrolet announced today that pricing for the new, segment-exclusive HHR Panel will begin at $16,750 (including destination) for a well-equipped LS model. Orders for the HHR Panel will begin in early January.

"Priced at only $200 more than an HHR passenger model, the HHR Panel demonstrates tremendous value to business customers," said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. "The HHR Panel is a model unlike anything else in the segment, offering commercial customers and expressive enthusiasts a bold, functional and different vehicle – and one that delivers more than 30 mpg on the highway."

The HHR Panel features windowless side panels and rear cargo doors in place of conventional rear doors. A flat load floor provides more than 57 cubic feet (1,614 L) of cargo space, along with approximately 5 cubic feet (141 L) of additional covered, under-floor storage. Inside, the HHR Panel has seating for two and a large, flat cargo floor. Tie-down points are located strategically on the floor.

The LS model comes with a fuel-efficient 2.2L engine rated at 149 horsepower (111 kW). The LT model is equipped with a 2.4L engine rated at 175 horsepower (130 kW). With either engine, the HHR is rated at 30 mph in highway driving and can provide up to 450 miles of cruising range on a tank of gas.

Power front seats, a family of radios with MP3 capability and OnStar are available on LS and LT models. LT models also offer XM Satellite Radio, 17-inch wheels and leather-appointed seating. There is also a rear power plug connector with available 40-amp service, for a variety of specialty equipment needs. This feature answers the call of upfitters, who asked for an additional power source to suit their specialty vehicles.

OnStar with Turn-by-Turn Navigation is available on the HHR Panel, enhancing its value as a courier or delivery-type vehicle. OnStar Turn-by-Turn provides verbal instructions to assist the driver with right- and left-hand turn directions; and it establishes a new route if the driver needs to get back on track; for example, if a freeway exit is missed.

Chevrolet is America's No. 1-selling automotive brand. With the largest dealer network in the United States , Chevy is the leader in full-size trucks and the leader in sales of vehicles priced $35,000 and above. Chevrolet delivers more-than-expected value in every vehicle category, offering cars and trucks priced from $9,995 to $78,175. Chevy delivers expressive design, spirited performance and great value with standard features usually found only on more expensive vehicles.

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader for 75 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 327,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit , GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2005, 9.17 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall. GM operates one of the world's leading finance companies, GMAC Financial Services, which offers automotive, residential and commercial financing and insurance. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.