• Dec 17th 2009 at 10:20AM
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On Wednesday night, Chevrolet held a media preview in Motown to discuss and show off some of what will be coming up at the Detroit Auto Show next month. Unfortunately, we were not allowed take any photos or video at the event, although General Motors officials did say we could write about anything that was discussed.
The presentation kicked off with an introduction to new Chevrolet general manager Jim Campbell who just assumed his role a week ago. Campbell and Mike Simcoe, director of exterior design, then spent the next half-hour showing off the same batch of new Chevrolets that we were shown in the GM design dome last August. All of these cars including the forthcoming Orlando MPV, Cruze, Camaro convertible, Volt and the all-new 2012 Malibu are promised to be in U.S. Chevrolet showrooms within the next 24 months. The Orlando remains pretty true to the 2008 concept, with the only real changes being to the details of the light clusters – just don't look for it at the Detroit show.

Anchoring the entr- level end of the Bowtie's lineup will be the Spark and Aveo. Campbell reaffirmed that the Spark will be coming to the U.S. in 2011, putting to rest – at least for the moment – rumors that the program had been canceled. The bigger news is the next Aveo which will get its first public viewing at next month's show. Read on after the jump for more details and observations.

[Image: The Detroit News]

At the preview, we saw the same Aveo styling buck that was displayed in August. This is the five-door hatchback version, and it shares absolutely nothing with the current car of the same name. When the refreshed version of the Aveo hatch debuted a couple of years ago, AB editor in chief Neff described it as having "fallen down the ugly tree and hit every branch." The current model's oversized dual port grille exaggerates how narrow the car looks and does it no favors.

The new Aveo most certainly does not suffer this problem. In talking of the new Aveo, Simcoe described the model's face as having "deliberate aggression." The grille is both shorter and broader than the present car, a strategy which works with the increased width of the new model to lend it a "wide, planted stance." The corners get four individual round headlights and the flanks of the car feature some of the sculpting found on the Spark, albeit less exaggerated. It does feature the same hidden door handles on the C-pillars as the Spark.

Simcoe spoke of the desire to get some of the "hot hatch" look into the new Aveo – even in the base model. It will be very interesting to see how customers react to this new model in contrast to the Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit, its primary competitors. Just to underscore the Aveo's hot hatch flavor, when the car is shown in Detroit in a few weeks, it will be shown in RS trim. The RS will be powered by a turbocharged EcoTec, engine although no further details were provided. We're guessing it will be the same 1.4-liter turbo that is slated to be optional in the Cruze. With 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque, it should be enough to make the Aveo RS a real mover.

Since that same powerplant will be made at GM's Flint South engine plant and the Aveo will be built at the automaker's nearby Orion assembly plant, this combination would make sense. Of course, since this is America, the hatch will also be joined by a four-door sedan, but we were only shown a photo of that bodystyle. Frankly, based upon what we've seen, we'd take the hatch and can't wait to see the RS in the metal.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      A new Malibu, already? The current one is here since what, 2008? Things are moving pretty quick at GM now.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Kinda, sorta, but not really. Keep in mind the current Malibu Epsilon platform has been around since 2004 with the 2005 model year Pontiac G6 and the following year with the Saturn Aura. The Malibu was just the late one to the party, lol.

        The new Epsilon II platform already debuted with the 2009 Opel Insignia, so it's already a year old. The new 2010 Buick LaCrosse, 2010 Suzuki Kizashi and 2011 Regal are already on this platform.

        Family sedan life cycles shouldn't be more than 4 years anyway.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It is way too soon. The old Malibu is still fresh and still looks good.

        A redesign could ruin it. Just look what happen to the Impala, the current design looks more like the old Lumina than the Impala.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This begs the question; why keep the name "Aveo" ? It's not like it has any kind of history or positive connotations at all. Why saddle a (hopefully) brilliant new car with the nameplate of a marginal (I'm being kind here) old one?
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM really seems to be going full steam in updating their cars. While true the platform for the Malibu was originally introduced in 2004 with the Pontiac G6, they updated it for the Malibu for 2008, and have done the same again with the new 2010 Buick LaCrosse.

      That's a pretty smart strategy there - that means that they can save a decent amount of money on simply updating a platform instead of engineering a whole new one, but at the same time, they aren't trying to introduce 3 new similar-sized cars aimed at similar markets at the same time which means that they are just going to cannibalizing each others sales.

      By staggering the releases they will always have at least one brand spankin new car to introduce, and even the "older" one isn't that old.

      I am very excited to see what they can come up with for the 2012 Malibu since I think the current one is quite a good family car.... well except for that rear end, which just doesn't go very well.

      Concerning the next-gen Aveo, it better be a HUGE improvement over the old one which was just awful. The Fiesta looks to be fantastic and this Aveo better not be an el-cheapo special in which people will only buy it because of price.
      • 5 Years Ago
      the reason why is that the aveo is a popular car world wide. down in the west indies for example, you see alot of them A LOT being driven, so name change makes no sense. that being said, the Aveo isn't a terrible car, its not sporty like the fit but its easier on the eyes and its plainly a good satisfying value. the sales overseas are pretty decent compared to the U.S., which would ask the question of why have it in the u.s. market again. but they need to compete in the small car segment. from my experience in driving the current one, i actually like it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The current Aveo is crappy it gets horrible mileage for a car its size and power. When most cars in this class can crack 40mpg, the best a Aveo can manage is 35-36mpg period. A Scion xD driven around 60mph will get 38-40mpg and 12 year old Dodge Neons with conservative driving can get 39-42mpg.

      That's why its crappy it has little to do with its interior which is fine or is styling which is okay if you pick the hatchback. The Sedan is another those terrible America Only ideas that we like sedans because hatchbacks scream "cheap" to most people.

      I'd hate to inform these people that the $25K Mini is a hatchback and hardly cheap or ugly...

      • 5 Years Ago
      I would like to know what you thought of the new 2012 malibu! Inquiring minds want to know. The current gen is so well thought out and has such crisp, beautiful lines, I want to know if they screwed it up or made it better through evolution?
        • 5 Years Ago

        This Malibu came out in 2008, 2012 would give it live of 4 years.

        #1 GM almost never re-designs sedans after 4 years, usually it is 6 or 7 plus GM said that because of its finances it will increase production lives of most of the vehicles it makes by a year or two.
        • 5 Years Ago
        agreed. Everyday when I pass a Malibu I wonder what they will change. It is a nice design the way it is.

        Similar quandary Chrysler has with the 300, imo. It is good the way it is, pretty much.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree what about the 2012 malibu? it is hard to follow up on a stunning design. Also, do you think the Aveo is as good or btter looking than the Fiesta?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm looking forward to seeing the next-gen Aveo. I expect it to be very class competitive. The fact it will be built here is a big plus as well.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's a good decision to call the sporty version an RS and not SS. Hopefully, we'll see more well-refined sporty versions across the line, and a few world-beating 'SS' versions in select makes. I'm curious to see if the Cruze will get an SS that tries to out perform the Cobalt SS, or goes more of the RS direction.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Whoopie!!!! I can't wait to see it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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