2010 Chevy Spark - Click above for a hi-res image gallery
General Motors has issued a cryptic press release suggesting it plans to retool an existing plant here in the United States to build a new small car. No specifics are given on what small car this may be, as the missive only says that the plant will have the capacity to build up to 160,000 small and compact cars and that "this vehicle adds to GM's growing portfolio of U.S.-built, highly fuel efficient cars including the Chevrolet Cruze and Volt." Know what that means? It's speculation time!
GM's most well-known small car is arguably the Chevy Spark, which was introduced earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show and is based on the Beat concept from 2007. It's possible this is the small car GM is referring to, but it's not the only option. The automaker could also introduce a model slightly larger than the Spark that would still slot below the upcoming Chevy Cruze compact that's slated to replace the aging Chevrolet Cobalt, possibly based on either the Opel Corsa or Astra. Have any other ideas? Check out the press release after the jump, and then free to sound off in the comments.
[Source: General Motors]
GM Announces Plans to Build Small Car in U.S.
* GM to utilize and retool idled assembly and stamping facility for future production.
* Additional production will help the company deliver outstanding new vehicles to the compact and small car markets and meet future fuel efficiency regulations.
DETROIT, Mich. -- General Motors Corporation (NYSE:GM) announced today it plans to build a future small car in the United States utilizing an idled UAW-GM facility. This vehicle adds to GM's growing portfolio of U.S.-built, highly fuel efficient cars including the Chevrolet Cruze and Volt.
"Small cars represent one of the fastest growing segments in both the U.S. and around the world," said Fritz Henderson, General Motors President and CEO. "We believe this car will be a winner with our current and future customers in the U.S."
The re-tooled plant will be capable of building 160,000 cars annually, which can be a combination of both small and compact vehicles. Selection of the site will be determined in the future.
"I would like to personally thank the UAW for agreeing to work with us to ensure our overall manufacturing competitiveness in the United States," said Henderson. "This vehicle segment, while important today and expected to be more so in the future, is extremely challenging. It takes a special effort by everyone to bring a domestically produced small car to market in a cost-competitive and profitable way - but that is what we are going to do together."
GM already has a strong manufacturing presence in the United States. Currently, about 67 percent of GM cars and trucks sold in the U.S. are built in the U.S. With this announcement, GM anticipates that U.S. production levels will increase beyond 70 percent by 2013, augmenting its already automotive industry-leading U.S. manufacturing footprint.