By on November 23, 2009

Gulp! (courtesy:krystaladventure.blogspot.com)

I have driven a Spark around Michigan and have had some (GM executives) out for Saturday afternoon driving. We’ve cruised Woodward. North America has been an on-and-off thing for (the Spark). At the present time, though, it is very much on. Most of the world’s minicars were not designed for North America. The safety and repairability standards are different for side, rear, front crash and rollovers, as are emission standards and other things. They are difficult to meet if they weren’t planned for in the original engineering build. We can meet the U.S. standards. We can even package the Spark for Big Gulp cupholders

GM’s Jack Keaton [via Wards Auto] on the Chevrolet Spark (neé Daewoo Matiz Creative) and the many modifications needed to ready the 1.0/1.2-liter A-segment hatchback for the US market. Including making the cupholders large enough to hold a soft drink cup that’s nearly double the displacement of the Spark’s engine. The 6′ 4″ Keaton swears the Spark’s front seat is comfortable for him, and that he “didn’t mind” the back seat on a recent 35 mile drive.

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15 Comments on “Quote Of The Day: American Tastes Edition...”


  • avatar
    superbadd75

    I really don’t see how this abomination is any better than the abortion Aveo.

    • 0 avatar
      dropshadow

      At the very least, it’s not a rebadged Daewoo.
      I wish GM had decided to build the other two cars they debuted alongside the Beat concept (that eventually became the Spark).  The other two were similar to the smallbox offerings of Toyota, Nissan and Honda, which is a growing market.  The Spark, on the other hand, is just another tiny four door hatch, and the Honda Fit already wins that segment.

    • 0 avatar
      NN

      not a rebadged Daewoo?  Did you click the link?  This is nothing more than a Daewoo Matiz with a Chevy badge on it.

    • 0 avatar
      superbadd75

      Totally agree with the other concepts, dropshadow. I personally liked the Trax and Groove concepts far better than the Beat, and the style of both were similar in concept to the (original) Scion xB (Toyota bB) and now the Kia Soul. I think they took the wrong direction to begin with, and further watering down the styling of the original concept made it even worse. It is GM though, so one really expects this type of thing.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I don’t doubt his assessment.  Several ‘small’ cars have roomy interiors, which is why – at 6’7″ – I drive an 05 xB.  Meanwhile, there are numerous SUVs and so-called ‘large’ cars that I cannot fit into; their use of available space is appalling.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I’ll buy that the car’s reasonably comfortable: the high hip point and tall roof can do wonders for a car, and at 6’9″ I can usually fit better in cars like the Spark, Smart, Yaris or Fit than in their longer, yet lower and more conventionally packaged brethren.
     
    The problem here is one of cost: this car is going to anchor the bottom of GM’s lineup, and GM’s “anchors” are, historically, very bad cars because GM does not want to spend any money on them.  Consider the Toyota Echo/Yaris: variable valve timing (which hadn’t seen the light of day in Lexus, at the time), quite a light structure and some clever packaging.  Consider the Honda Fit/Jazz, which sports the same.
     
    Now, consider the Aveo, which weighs more than either the Fit or Yaris, isn’t much roomier than the latter and has an lump engine that’s basically a low-cost riff on a very old version of a GM engine that wasn’t very good in the first place.  If you could say anything nice about the Aveo, it’s that it was more pleasant than the Cavalier of the time.  GM patently did not want to sell it, but they needed something to keep from bleeding buyers to Kia and Hyundai.
     
    I’d be really surprised if the Spark improves on that, because I’m still seeing a company that would prefer to be making Cadillac coupes and blown Camaros than cars that normal people will buy.  For a company that supposedly is geared to a marketshare level about 15-30% above where they are now, it seems odd that all they’re interested in is boutique toys.

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      “The problem here is one of cost: this car is going to anchor the bottom of GM’s lineup, and GM’s “anchors” are, historically, very bad cars because GM does not want to spend any money on them.”

      +1. 
      Also, GM’s shitbox anchors made it easier for lowlife dealers to ‘move’ customers up to larger vehicles.
      Note to GM: Try to get the seats right. Every time I see a Cavalier, my back aches in rememberance of a long ago, painful trip.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      For a company that supposedly is geared to a marketshare level about 15-30% above where they are now, it seems odd that all they’re interested in is boutique toys.
      Excellent comment.  I would characterize the Volt that way, also.

  • avatar
    rob

    I drove the Matiz as a rental when I lived in England last year. It has enough power (although pretty low gearing) and plenty of room. It’s not fancy, but it certainly got the job done.

  • avatar
    autonut

    I drove Chevy Moritz in Europe. To state that it is horrible would be giving it a complement.  I wanted to exchange it for Kia or Hyundai, but there were number of people ahead of me.

  • avatar
    Seth L

    Where’s the Toyota IQ already?

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    You’ll find little Sparks all over St. Bart. They’re perfect tourist rental cars because they’re cheap and disposable. The Chevy Spark really really sucks.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    <i> Note to GM: Try to get the seats right. Every time I see a Cavalier, my back aches in rememberance of a long ago, painful trip. </i>
     
    And how. I recall a 100 mile trip (each way) in the back seat of an early Saturn. Man that back seat was far too upright.
    Moved my friend’s Civic hatchback around the other night and found that my 5’11″ frame doesn’t fit in it very well. Seat needs another couple of inches of rearward movement and the steering wheel needed to go up another inch or two.
    My VW Cabrio (Golf ‘vert) will adjust the front seats so far back that I can’t bottom the clutch on the floor. Steering column moves plenty upward out of my way that I don’t even need to move it up to get in and out comfortably.
    Little things like that make or break little cars. I don’t mind a small vehicle but it has to be packaged correctly. Not all of Honda’s vehicles are like this b/c I had an early CR-X, a few Accords, and currently a CR-V.
    As for GM’s little cars – I say bring them. Don’t sell us some ugly little sneaker of a car. Sell us something with some style and taste. Not some abomination that an adult wouldn’t tolerate driving across a city. I’m not too worried about it’s crash stats. I’m climbing into a small or very small car. I am aware of the risks. I am also very aware of the dangers of driving when I get into either of our aircooled VWs (Beetle and Bus) or when I ride my motorcycle. Don’t protect me from myself. I can think and decide for myself what I feel comfortable driving.

  • avatar
    redshift.flipgear

    Correct me if I’m wrong here but the Spark really doesn’t have a competitor in its segment here. The Aveo goes after the Yaris and the Fit while the Spark will go after the Hyundai i10 and the Toyota iQ or Aygo.
     

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Correct me if I’m wrong here but the Spark really doesn’t have a competitor in its segment here. The Aveo goes after the Yaris and the Fit while the Spark will go after the Hyundai i10 and the Toyota iQ or Aygo.
     
    Fair question, but it begs another: why is GM going to sell this car in North America?  Even the subcompact market sells a fraction of what the compact and midsizers sell, so at best this car will either undercut the Aveo (which is hard, considering you can buy an Aveo for CA$10K) and/or be sold as a boutique choice (ask Daimler how that’s going).  Don’t get me wrong, I like small cars, but this is a tough sell for a company that’s already suffering from cannibalization.
     
    I’d suspect they’ll replace the Aveo entirely.  It’ll take some pressure off the Cruze as well; the Aveo currently steals more than a few base Cobalt sales.


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