Click above for a high-res gallery of the Chevrolet Beat Groundhog Day edition

Earlier this week, when General Motors rolled out the very same 3-door Chevrolet Beat concept that it showed back in 2007, we were a bit confused. After all, GM's Ed Welburn teased all of America when he pulled back the tarp on a related (but clearly different) subcompact during NBC's Today Show (video here), only to trot out the same vivid green three-door that has been steadily making the show circuit rounds for some time now.

Well, Kicking Tires has unearthed the back story, and evidently the tarp-pulling session with Matt Lauer revealed a foam model of the production Spark five-door. Understandably, GM couldn't very well drive a foam block up the ramp and onto the stage, so it simply left it out of its press conference and substituted the old concept. We thought GM might quietly put the five-door out on the floor later, so we checked back at their display during yesterday's supplier days, and unfortunately Chevrolet's stand never did get the mockup.

Kicking Tires evidently had to place repeated calls to GM's communications team in order to get them to admit that they had pulled a switcheroo. Eventually, GM's Klaus-Peter Martin noted that: "...any misunderstanding was unintentional, and that the company had always intended to reveal the production Spark in Geneva." That may be true, but we have trouble understanding why the car was teased on national television and a press shot of the five-door was circulated with the Detroit Auto Show press release.

Regardless of GM's intent, we look forward to seeing the production Spark in March, and eagerly await its arrival on America's roads in 2011.

Related GalleryDetroit 2009: Chevy Spark, aka Beat

[Source: Kicking Tires]