We never knew for sure whether the Chevrolet Spark would make its way Stateside, but today we are one step closer to having the tiny city car launched in the U.S., as GM confirmed that the vehicle will be makings its way to North America after all.
A press release from GM announcing the Indian launch of the Spark (called the Beat, the Spark name is taken) at the Delhi Auto Expo reads:
Based on GM’s global mini-vehicle architecture, the experts took 27 months to develop the Beat. Chevrolet Beat will be launched in over 150 markets around the world including those in Europe, other parts of Asia and North America in the coming days.
Obviously, North America is bigger than the United States alone – so what we see here may be the confirmation that the Spark will come to either Canada, Mexico, or the U.S. But let’s take a few seconds to read into the wording of the release, shall we?
It’s important to know that press release text is composed by professional writers. These things get revised, sometimes more than a dozen times, in order to portray the announcement in the most positive light (and to eliminate any negativity). Moreover, most scheduled press releases that companies know will be published in the future are written way ahead of the actual publish date. In effect, press releases aim not to leave anything to chance.
Knowing this, the press release from GM doesn’t seem to make any exclusions for the North American continent. So if GM isn’t planning on bringing the Spark to the U.S., we would think the release would read something like this:
Chevrolet Beat will be launched in over 150 markets around the world including those in Europe, other parts of Asia and certain parts of North America in the coming days.
In any event, GM spokespeople have dropped hints here and there about a U.S.-bound Spark, but nothing to take to the bank just yet. Today’s cheap gas prices, along with the recently-unveiled Chevy Aveo Concept, may not make sense for a Spark-sized vehicle in the U.S., but as the summer of 2008 would care to emphasize – these prices have the potential to skyrocket very quickly. So in our opinion, it would make sense to have the Spark around in the U.S. on a “just in case” basis.
And to add more gasoline to the fire, GM has a U.S.A. subsection on its official Spark website. On top of that, the Spark was designed with U.S. regulations in mind, as GM so eloquently pointed out in its press release (available after the jump.)
GM India Launches much awaited Chevrolet Beat
Sexy, Smart & Tough – New Global mini car to be key pillar of Chevrolet’s growth strategy in India
New Delhi: GM India today launched the much awaited Chevrolet Beat, the next offering from the 300 series after the Cruze, at a ceremony presided over by its President & Managing Director, Mr. Karl Slym. Based on GM’s global mini-vehicle architecture, the experts took 27 months to develop the Beat. Chevrolet Beat will be launched in over 150 markets around the world including those in Europe, other parts of Asia and North America in the coming days.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Slym said “with its best-in-segment design, performance and safety, the Beat is destined to become an industry benchmark and a winner among consumers in India. Aimed at meeting the highest quality and performance standards in the most sophisticated markets in a competitive environment, the global vehicle was put through over 1 million kilometers of intensive durability tests in extreme weather conditions and crash tests both in India and abroad. It has high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel over key areas of the body to ensure segment-leading occupant protection. And with a revolutionary design, advanced technology, unique features and benchmark safety, the Beat offers much more than an ordinary mini, Mr. Slym added.
The Beat comes in three trim levels of 1.2, 1.2LS and 1.2LT. In addition, an Option pack is available on the LT variant which consists of ABS, Alloy wheels, Dual Airbags and Seatbelts with Load limiters.
Segment-Leading Size and a Dynamic Exterior
The Beat is a car that is ideal for those with a modern lifestyle. With the styling of a sporty hatchback, it showcases the new direction of Chevrolet design and a new trend in the design of mini-cars. The clear goal from the very beginning was to create a revolution in size and design despite the restrictions of the mini segment. The vehicle is destined to make a statement with an innovative design that would go far beyond a typical mini-vehicle and set new standards for the segment.
The Beat’s roomy proportions and dynamic styling are courtesy of its segment-leading length of 3,595 mm, height of 1,520 mm, wheelbase of 2,375 mm, and width of 1,595 mm combined with its “body-in/wheels-out” stance. Dramatically sized headlamps that literally stretch from the front fascia to the back of the hood, with clear polycarbonate lenses and chrome-coated bezels, resemble diamonds, adding an upscale appearance and glamour.
A window line that is slanted dynamically upward, an arching roofline and sharp sidelines bring a sporty yet edgy look, a rarity in the segment. Secret vertical rear door handles located in the C-pillar are another unusual feature in this car. They give the Beat a unique, sporty three-door coupe appearance without sacrificing five-door utility.
A first-in-segment offering of an integrated rear spoiler as standard equipment essentially extends the rear roofline, for enhanced aerodynamic performance and provides a stable stance in high-speed driving as well as increased fuel efficiency. Round tail-lamps with clear polycarbonate lenses add to the Beat’s strong rear impression.
A chrome-coated radiator grille and fog lamps, outside mirrors with two-tone color, and a refined-looking roof rail are other design cues that transport the Beat’s styling beyond that of a conventional mini.
Beat buyers have a larger palette of exterior colours to choose from. They may select one of the seven colours – Olympic White, Linen Beige, Caviar Black, Misty Lake, Moroccan Blue, Green Cocktail and Super Red.
Unique Interior Defined By Fun, Fashion and Functionality
The design revolution continues inside the Beat. While pursuing a harmonious theme with the dynamic exterior, the interior is more about functionality. With its wider track and longer wheelbase, the Beat provides best-in-segment front legroom, rear legroom, front headroom and rear hip-room, resulting in generous space and comfortable accommodation for five adults.
The flowing interior weaves together the instrument panel, front seats and door trims, creating an environment that is harmonious, uninterrupted and inviting to the senses.
The most striking design element in the interior is a Steering Column mounted motorcycle-inspired dynamic meter cluster which is also a first-in-segment and combines analog and digital systems, contributing fun and unique styling as well as enhanced visibility and convenience. Adding to the refined look is an integrated center stack design that eliminates the traditional “picture framing” layout and results in a contemporary stylish relationship. LED-lit ice blue illumination which is a signature Chevrolet adds to the urban, edgy styling.
Pattern-printed semi-bucket seats provide a stable feeling when cornering. With high-quality materials and exceptional craftsmanship, they also enhance the luxurious interior atmosphere.
Segment leading fuel efficiency with high power output engine
Newly developed for the next-generation global mini, the S-TEC II engine – a 4-cylinder, 16-valve 1199cc DOHC engine delivers a best in class mileage of 18.6 kmpl. The Beat is Smart because it does no compromise on performance as it delivers an excellent peak power of 80.5ps. The S-TEC II engine includes a series of advanced features that enhance performance. The first-in-segment application of the PDA (Port De-Activation) system ensures high exhaust gas recirculation, resulting in combustion stability at low speeds and optimal performance at high speeds together with improved fuel efficiency. In addition, the PDA system contributes to a reduction in emissions, making the Beat a truly eco-friendly vehicle.
Another first-in-segment application is an automatic temperature controller inside the engine, which helps improve fuel efficiency by reducing unnecessary heat loss. A dome-type long-skirt cylinder block narrows the space between intake valves while the application of four resonators reduces engine noise. Mated with the efficient S-TEC-II engine is a 5-speed manual transmission tuned to GM’s global standards that provides enhanced shifts for an outstanding ride.
Segment first & Premium Features Go “Beyond Mini”
The Beat features an array of premium comfort and convenience amenities that one would expect in more expensive vehicles, including:
* Automatic Climate Control
* Integrated Center Stack Audio with USB and Aux-in Port
* Tilt steering
* Steering Column mounted LED back-lit speedometer & LCD digital tachometer
* 60:40 Split folding seats
* Tubeless Tyres
* Satin Silver Roof rails
Solid Structure and Advanced Chassis Ensure Pleasurable Ride and Handling
The ride and handling of the Beat also set it apart from any other vehicle in its segment. Adopting the body-frame integral (BFI) system, the upper body structure and frame are engineered as a single unit, resulting in better feel of the road along with a heightened sense of firmness and stability, and enhanced connectivity between the driver and vehicle. A McPherson strut front suspension combined with a four-point mounted long engine cradle and a width power reduction spring enhances the solidity of the entire chassis, for improved crash safety and driving performance. A rear compound crank torsion beam incorporates a tubular V-beam for more effective tuning and dynamic performance.
A first-in-segment triple acoustic absorbent structure and special underbody structure prevent noise inflow from outside for optimal quietness. Wind noise is minimized through the Beat’s aerodynamic body line and detailed door sealing structure.
Class-Transcending Use of High-Strength Steel
A host of structural enhancements combined with a full offering of active and passive safety systems make the Beat a segment leader in its class.
Its body is the stiffest and toughest in the mini segment; 66.5 percent of its body is constructed of high-strength steel and over 16 percent is made of ultra-high-strength steel. This ensures the highest level of protection in the segment. The solid structure played a key role in securing EuroNCAP rating in crash tests.
In addition, ultra-high-strength steel applied to the side structure minimizes the chance of the structure deforming in the event of a crash. High-strength steel is also used in the rear body structure to protect passengers as well as the fuel tank, minimizing the possibility of fuel leakage during a collision. The four-point mounted long engine cradle protects passengers in the event of a head-on collision by optimally dispersing crash loads. The collapsible steering column helps protect driver’s chest in frontal collisions
The use of H-spider type ultra-high-strength steel bars in the underbody prevents severe deformation caused by a side crash. The tailor-welded blanking method used in the B-pillar ensures maximum protection of passengers’ upper bodies. High-strength steel in the rear and rear crash boxes minimize the impact of whiplash.
The roof is especially stiff, for maximum rollover protection. The Beat has been developed to withstand up to four times its weight – which goes far beyond industry regulations. Safety features include driver and front passenger air bags a 4-channel/4-sensor EBD-ABS system and seatbelt with load limiter.
The Beat comes with a high localization content and the parts have been very competitively priced in line with Chevrolet’s philosophy to provide low cost of ownership experience to the owners. It also comes with a segment best warranty of 3 years or 100,000 kms (whichever is earlier).