Chevy Beat not coming to U.S.; Lutz confirms future vehicle timeline

Rick Wagoner outlined General Motors' business plan to right the automaker's North American ship early today, but left out the details we really wanted to hear about - the cars. Enter GM car guy, Bob Lutz. After Wagoner's announcement, Lutz chimed in to fill in some of the blanks about what vehicles would be part of GM's recovery plan.

Lutz confirmed that the upcoming Chevrolet Cruze is coming to America, with an on-sale date of mid-2010. The Cobalt replacement will be powered by GM's new 1.4-liter turbo four and will achieve at least 40 mpg.

However, Chevy's other economy car - the Beat - will not be sold in the U.S. Lutz says that it would be too time consuming and too costly to make the Beat compliant with U.S. crash regulations, therefore the little hatch will not be sold in the U.S. However, the next-generation of the Beat will likely be sold in the U.S., although that car is still several years away.

But at least four new GM models will hit the market in 2009. Both the CTS Wagon and Buick Invicta - although that name could change - will hit the market in spring 2009, followed by the CTS Coupe mid-year and the Saab 9-4X in the fall.

A new family of small crossovers - including the Chevrolet Equinox and a similar GMC model - will also hit the market in 2009. Lutz made it clear the GMC version would not be a simple rebadge of the Equinox. What's more, he said it's not longer GM's policy to have a version of every car for every brand.

Despite the delay of the next Saturn Aura, Lutz says no other brands are up for review outside of Hummer. Instead, Lutz explained that the next Aura was delayed to give the current car a full life cycle.