In the wake of the Chevy Beat news that started pounding the wires before the 4th of July weekend, the Wall Street Journal reached out to Bob Lutz for some commentary on the topic. Lutz, in an email to the Journal, said, "We always thought we'd do it at some point, but now it obviously enjoys a much higher priority." Based on what the Journal says, this loosely translates to "the 2012 timeframe." Unfortunately for GM, this is a car that its U.S. operation needs approximately yesterday. It would behoove the brain trust in the RenCen to stop debating this and simply end all the speculation by formally announcing a U.S. Beat and attaching a timetable, already (as in, now). We think that the car's appearance as an Autobot in next summer's Transformers follow-up will help create enough public interest for that GM will be forced to make some sort declaration if they haven't by then already (TF2 opens on June 26, 2009).
As we've suggested, GM would probably do itself a big favor by greenlighting production versions of all three Triplet concepts, sending the Trax (also featured in TF2) and Groove to showrooms, too. The argument that Americans aren't into small cars/econocars/hatchbacks is quickly losing water, as automaker sales numbers would attest. There's a reason the Civic now outsells the F-150 and that the Hyundai Accent saw a 70% jump last month. Toyota isn't adding the 5-door Yaris to the U.S. lineup on a whim, either. Market forces, in the form of elevated fuel prices, are altering the landscape, and people are a lot more willing to look at (and buy) something smaller and more economical. It's just reality. The longer General Motors deliberates, the longer it's going to get beaten by competitors who have product ready to go right now. Don't wait for for the popcorn-chompers to play focus group and beg for these cars next summer. Grow a set and make the announcement now. Who would've thought that Michael Bay has a better vision of the future than the General itself? In his, GM's cool, stylish minicars will be on the streets next summer. We know that's not possible in real life, but GM needs embrace the fact that a market now exists in the United States for the Beat (and its siblings) and make the obvious call.
Related GalleryNew York Auto Show: 2007 Chevy Beat Concept
[Source: Wall Street Journal]