• Apr 4, 2007
It's not easy to put your finger on the pulse of the buying public, so Chevy decided to hedge its bets and build three mini car concepts, the Beat, Groove and Trax, and is leaving it up to us (as in all of us) to decide which one we like best. The public can vote for which concept is most appealing by visiting www.vote4chevrolet.com. While there's no guarantee the highest vote getter will be built, it will help guide the development of a future global mini car from GM.

So here are your candidates. The Beat (green) is by far the most sporty of the trio, with its slicked back styling and comparatively large 1.2L turbo engine. Technically described as a "tuner" car, the Beat is meant to be customized much like a Scion to an owner's own individual tastes. The Beat is a front-wheel drive, three-door hatch with an automatic tranny to divvy up the tiny motor's available power.

The Groove concept (black) is much like a mini HHR, a five-door wagon with a tall roof and flat sides. It's extremely short hood, big wheel arches and nonexistent overhangs mean that every square inch of the platform is utilized. Consider this the most practical concept of the three. Also a front-driver, the Groove is powered by a 1L diesel engine.

Finally there's the Trax (orange), which we've met before. The Trax concept is the mini ute of the bunch, doing its best to feign even the slightest ability to venture off the beaten path. We wouldn't suggest it however, as those tires lack any meaningful tread and the ride height, while high compared to the other two concepts, could hardly clear a curb (if that). It's the only one of the three that features round headlights, though its four-door, upright, box-like packaging mimics that of the Groove concept. It's powered by a 1L gas engine.

Which one would we choose? The Autoblog team is split, though this Autoblogger would pick the Groove if pressed. We'll come back at you with more details on each concept, including live shots, in just a few short hours when the 2007 New York Auto Show opens to the press. Check out the preliminary press release from GM after the jump.

[Source: GM]




PRESS RELEASE:

SIZE DOESN'T MATTER: THREE CHEVROLET GLOBAL MINICAR CONCEPTS PACK A LOT OF PERSONALITY AND STYLE PER MILE

NEW YORK – Three Chevrolet minicar global concepts designed to appeal to young car buyers in urban markets prove that art needn't take a back seat just because the canvas is small. Revealed today at the New York Auto Show, the highly creative Chevrolet Beat, Chevrolet Groove and Chevrolet Trax concepts drive the energy, diversity and excitement of urban life into cars that deliver good-looking fun, fuel economy and value.

Democracy lovers will even get the chance to pick their favorite by visiting www.vote4chevrolet.com and casting their vote for the Beat, Groove or Trax. The results will help Chevrolet determine U.S. market interest in the minicar segment, and which design/capability package resonates best with potential buyers.

All three concepts were designed at GM's Design Studio in Inchon , South Korea . One of GM's 11 Global Design Studios, the designers in the Korean center are experts in small car product development.

Built on GM's global mini architecture, these concepts demonstrate the flexibility, creativity and innovative focus of design in GM's Asia Pacific region. The Chevrolet Beat concept, a running prototype of a micro import tuner, was built in India ; while the Chevrolet Groove and Trax micro urban crossover concepts were built at the GM Tech Center in Warren , Mich.

"The Chevrolet Beat, Groove and Trax concepts highlight the strength and diversity of GM's Global Design capabilities, as well as the ability of our Global Product Development team to anticipate and quickly meet the evolving needs of our diverse markets around the world," said Ed Welburn, vice president, GM Global Design.

"The design team was so enthused about being given the assignment to develop the perfect small car for urban commuters that they created not one, but three interpretations of how this car may be developed for Chevrolet customers around the world."

Chevrolet is one of four GM global brands, meeting diverse customer needs in 120 countries with vehicles that range from subcompacts and family sedans to full-size pickups and SUVs and iconic sports cars such as the Corvette. The concepts revealed in New York , for example, offer three different fuel-efficient engines, including a diesel.

"The Chevrolet Beat, Groove and Trax concepts have the potential to expand the reach of Chevrolet – already a beloved brand around the world – even further, connecting with young buyers on multiple continents who desire fun-yet-efficient transportation," said Chevrolet General Manager Ed Peper. "These are the same brand attributes that made Chevrolet a household name in the U.S. "

Here's a look at Chevrolet's three minicar concepts:

  • Chevrolet Beat : Designed to evoke the mood of a speedy micro import tuner, the Beat is a front-wheel-drive, three-door hatchback concept built to be personalized, and powered by a 1.2-liter turbocharged gasoline engine mated to an automatic transmission. It's loaded with technology, including a navigation system and premium stereo.
  • Chevrolet Groove: A "funkastalgia"-themed vehicle too tough-looking to be "cute," the Groove concept is a retro-inspired vehicle with bodacious fender flares and an upright windshield. It looks much longer than it is, thanks to its short hood and long cabin. The front-drive Groove is powered by a small, efficient 1-liter diesel engine.
  • Chevrolet Trax: An urban crossover concept that's equally at home on the trails or in traffic, it gets a low-cost all-wheel-drive system and looks the part of a rugged SUV many times its size, thanks to a voluminous one-piece bumper and fender system in the front and back, a rear-mounted spare tire and a roof rack. Trax is powered by a 1-liter gas engine.

GM's Global Product Development process

The Chevrolet Beat, Groove and Trax concepts were designed and built leveraging GM's Global Product Development process, created from best practices around the world that integrate design, engineering, powertrain and manufacturing organizations to ensure each vehicle program meets its quality, timing and business targets, yet is responsive to the needs in regional markets.

As part of its global product development process, GM is growing the skills and capabilities of its design and engineering centers in several emerging markets, using key tools and technologies, such as a global virtual design and engineering network, that allows engineers and designers to collaborate with each other around the world.

Chevrolet's global footprint

Chevrolet is one of the fastest-growing brands in the world, with a sales increase of 158 percent outside North America since 2001. Chevrolet sold 4.3 million vehicles worldwide in 2006, 2.8 million – or 65 percent – in the United States . From 2005 to 2006, Chevrolet's sales grew 19 percent in the Latin America, Africa and the Middle East region; 19 percent in the Asia/Pacific region; and 15 percent in Europe .

The Chevrolet Aveo sedan and five-door subcompact, engineered and built in South Korea , is a strong contender in the very competitive global small car market.

About Chevrolet:

Chevrolet is America 's No. 1-selling automotive brand. With the largest dealer network in the United States , Chevrolet 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. Chevrolet delivers expressive design, spirited performance and great value with standard features usually found only on more expensive vehicles.

About General Motors:

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader for 76 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 280,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit , GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2006, nearly 9.1 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'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.



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  • 62 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Way to go Chevy.

      My advice: have Daewoo build all three. You'll blow smart out of the water and demonstrate that techno-geek hybrids are not the only way to go green...
      • 7 Years Ago
      I really like all three designs as they seem to be well thought out.

      I like the agressive look of the Beat but wish it had 4 doors. I'm sure there is a market for that car especially in the younger crowd. I already have a 2 door car. I liked the little Chevy logos built into the tail lights...very well done.

      The Trax is very cool as well. If it had AWD to match those off-road looks they'd have another winner. I too like the way the door handles are designed and how they match the ones on the hood. Nicely done.

      The Groove is the one I voted for. It has sort of a Hummer appearance to it. It's small but looks mean and seems to have the maximum amount of cargo room of the three.

      The secret to selling small cars is making them look expensive. Smart design is the key. Look at Mini, the interiors on those cars is remarkable.

      The cars must have 15-16 wheels and come with a manual and Chevy would have my money. If they made it a Hybrid that would even be cooler!

      Nice job GM...build all three of them Beat to Saturn, Groove to Chevy and Trax to Hummer.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Who designed these?
      Promote them to head designers!
      • 7 Years Ago
      how come the beat is the only one with interior pics?
      are they all the same?
      and whats with the tiny mirror things. they almost look like cameras
      • 7 Years Ago
      Nice sentiments, there Jim. "Screw America..." Nice to know where you stand on the matter.

      I didn't say that they needed to be Cadillacs. I just wonder why they should look like they are 2 feet wide, by three feet long, but 5 feet tall. Seems to me that people don't like being packed into thin-walled sardine cans at 55-75 miles per hour, regardless of how high the roof is.

      My wife's 99 Miata could very well be longer, and wider than these cars, by their appearance, and the Miata is small enough to sit in, and vulnerable on the road. We drive it anyway, because it handles and drives so well, and is fun. These cars don't even have that going for them.

      And I guarantee that the center of gravity is at least two feet lower on that Miata than any of these things. And the coeficient of drag is probably half that of these concepts, even with the top down. Drag is not the freind of efficiency, and high centers of gravity are not the freind of "sporty handling." no matter what fasionable shade of nuclear green they paint the car. The other two look like 1/2 scale plastic toy SUVs, which is ironic in itself.

      Not that any of these econoboxes should be considered sports cars, but they do have cartoonish proportions, and marketing any of them as "sporty" is laughable marketing spin, and absolutely nothing more.

      I wish honest performance priorities were held dear in the american automotive market, but usually it is quite the opposite. Faddish over-large status symbols, or socio-political-statements-on-wheels seem to be the norm, rather than honest-to-goodness technically and aesthetically purposeful designs.

      So keep on screamin', man. Everybody wants to hear why you want to "screw America." [/sarcasm]

      But spare me. I certainly don't.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ooh...I like the Groove. Looks like a baby HHR with a bit of Mazda2 thrown in. Nice.
      • 7 Years Ago
      They're just concepts, c'mon. Kudos to GM for taking risks though.
      Overall, the Trax is probably the best pkg, but lose the spare tire. I'd warm to the Beat if it was 5-door. The Groove is growing on me, and has the most exisiting Chevy styling cues. I like the slick rear window design.

      None of them will be produced as-is, but you can bet that bits and pieces of all of them will show up in a car design to be sold "somewhere" in the world. I really do think that GM is a sleeping giant, and they have some design talent, it's just been latent for a long time. They're getting their act together slowly but surely. In the long run, the Daewoo investment might turn out to be a great bargain. The fruits of that are already showing up in India, China, and the new Chevy brand in parts of Europe.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Do some research tards. These cars were designed by Korean car designers. Its funny that GM has to outsource car designs. All thier lazy designers can come up with is "retro" crap that screams lazy car design and only appeals to the dying off baby boomer generation (thank god).


      And BTW, that Beat interior is unreal. A car like that "might" get me into a domestic car for the first time in my 28 year years of life so far...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Check this out! That voting site, www.vote4chevrolet.com is screwed!!! All you have to do, after voting is hit reload as fast as you can and it'll keep adding votes! LOL! Typical GM horse-crap!

      No wonder the Grove is winning... but to be fair for design's sake, I think the Grove is the best looking cube-car to date.
      • 7 Years Ago
      the beat (green) looks a lot like it could be based on the Suzuki Splash concept, which would make sense, as the splash is due to become the new Agila.

      http://www.autoblog.com/2006/09/28/paris-motor-show-suzuki-splash-concept/

      • 7 Years Ago
      I like them all , we need energy frugal vehicles in our damaged environment , besides , they look great , . . . gm needs to build them , to beat out the other s , ford chrysler , ect , its the future and people are already waiting to ease gas expense, I want the groove, me and my gal want one of each , . .. rb , in roswell new mexico april 8th 2007
      • 7 Years Ago
      I like the green one but it might need to be a four door to be more user friendly.
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