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Chevrolet's Spark to land in the US

by Mark Kleis

After flip-flopping on their decision to bring the new microcar to the US market several times, Chevy is now claiming that the US market will likely see the Spark in 2011.

The Chevy Spark will enter the US and fill a role in the Chevy lineup that is not currently filled with any model - the A-segment. Currently, Chevy's smallest offering is the B-segment Chevy Aveo.

Like most automakers in the US, Chevy's reason for not offering an A-segment vehicle in the recent past was likely due to the fact that prior to recent market changes, the segment had little appeal to Americans.

Recent market studies by several auto manufacturers however show that Americans are trending towards smaller vehicles - possibly bucking the trend of all Americans thinking "bigger is better" when it comes to purchasing vehicles.

The Chevy Spark hails out of South Korea, and according to GM that will likely not change - at least for the introduction. GM had previously indicated that it may build the new microcar in the US, but they have decided that until they can establish enough volume in sales they can't afford US-based production.

Although specific details on the US-spec version of the Spark are sparse, there is speculation that the little car will feature either a 66 horsepower, 1.0-liter four-cylinder, or a slightly larger 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine that would travel 47 miles per gallon.

Before GM can bring the Spark stateside however, they must find a way to get the microcar federalized. GM's Jack Keaton, who oversees the minicar development in South Korea said, "We have to start thinking now about how to meet the standards...and people will be looking for minicars and small cars to lead the way."