Shortly after GM filed for the Chevrolet Cavalier trademark in April, some began speculating that the car – which is currently sold exclusively in China – could replace the also-discontinued Holden Astra in Australia. At that time, we wrote that we seriously doubted that this will be the case, since GM’s future plans for global small cars indicate an entirely different direction. Now, we’re back to explain why the Cavalier will not come to Australia, ever.
1. It’s Simply Not Good Enough For Australia
The first red flag is the product itself. We can’t stress enough how the Chinese-market Chevrolet Cavalier is a ho-hum, bottom-feeder of a car. Based on the outgoing GM D2 platform (same as our now-defunct Chevrolet Cruze), the Chinese Cav was developed specifically for China and was meant to be as affordable as possible.
In other words, it was not engineered to be engaging to drive, nor deliver any sort of driving dynamics or refinement. That’s a big “no-no” for Australia, a market that tends to favor well-put-together cars that are engaging to drive.
What’s more, adapting the platform to The Australian New Car Assessment Program’s (ANCAP) updated safety regulations would be very costly, especially for a car sold in only one market (albeit the world’s largest automotive market). In all, the Cavalier was developed by GM’s Chinese operations for China, and was never intended to see any export market, especially a relatively advanced market such as Australia.
2. There’s A New Small Car Architecture
The second red flag is GM’s overall direction as it relates to small cars. GM is currently revamping its strategy for developing markets by developing scalable architecture known as the GEM platform. GEM will help The General scale small cars for emerging markets, making them more profitable and quicker to develop. We’ve already seen what GEM can do with the all-new Chevrolet Onix sedan, and all future small GM vehicles for developing markets will be based on these bones.
So, the Chevrolet Cavalier does not use GEM, instead being the oldest GM vehicle to ride D2 – a platform that has been end-of-lifed in favor of the VSS undertaking. So it simply would not make sense to spend the money to engineer adopting the Cavalier to ANCAP and bring it to Australia, only to have a much more worthwhile architecture waiting in the wings with GEM.
But there’s a gotcha: GEM is for developing markets only, with many a GM exec telling us over the last several months that no GEM-based vehicle will ever make it outside of “developing markets.” Meanwhile, Australia is far from a developing market. On the contrary, it’s as developed of a market as it gets. Hence, that puts the GEM platform out of the running for underpinning a potential future GM-Holden economy sedan for Australia.
3. The Grand Finale
But the biggest reason that the Chevrolet Cavalier will never come to Australia is even more simple: the car has been discontinued in China.
The model has been indirectly replaced by the Chevrolet Monza and the aforementioned Onix. So, no more Cavalier… not for China… not for Australia… not for anyone.
As it stands, it would seem that GM’s struggling Holden division will continue without a compact sedan once all already-produced units of the Astra Sedan, itself a rebadged Chevy Cruze sedan, sell out.