2012 Chevrolet Spark Preview

FAST FACTS
  • All-new, 5-door hatchback subcompact
  • Based on
  • Designed and built in South Korea
  • Production version to be unveiled at Geneva Auto Show in March of 2009
  • Sales to begin in Europe in the first quarter of 2010
  • Arrives in the U.S. in late 2011; likely replacement for Aveo

Introduction

In an effort to strengthen its market position and lessen its dependence on large trucks and SUVs, GM has announced that it will build the 2012 Chevrolet Spark mini car. The announcement took place at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Jan. 11. The all-new Spark, a 5-door hatchback based on the Chevrolet Beat concept car that debuted at the 2007 New York Auto Show, was designed and will be built in South Korea by GM-Daewoo. Built on GM's global mini-car platform, the production version of the new Spark will be unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show in March. GM plans initial sales in Europe beginning in early 2010; the Spark is scheduled to arrive in U.S. showrooms in late 2011, according to a GM spokesperson. As the Spark will be a global car for GM, it will be rolled out to other markets following its debut in Europe and North America.

Design

Inspired by the Chevrolet Beat concept car, the 2012 Chevrolet Spark will share many of the concept's styling cues. Although the Beat concept had three doors, the production Spark will be a 5-door design, which should increase the car's functionality and bring it more in line with consumer needs. According to GM, the new Chevrolet Spark "will provide versatility with a fresh, youthful exterior and interior design that is reflected in the selection of materials and colors." Added Troy Clarke, president of GM North America: "Chevrolet Spark will bring great style, roominess and versatility to the segment of extremely fuel-efficient small cars in the U.S."

Hardware

Although Chevrolet didn't disclose official details on the Spark's engine, transmission and other hardware, expect a small-displacement 4-cylinder engine with a choice of manual or automatic transmissions when the Spark hits dealerships in late 2011. Regardless of powertrain, the new Spark is expected to achieve 40 mpg on the highway, according to Chevy, and should be competitive with other offerings in the segment.