By on May 3, 2010

Chevrolet has had a difficult time deciding if its Cruze-based MPV, known as the Orlando, is a good fit for the US-market. Initially, Chevy debuted the Orlando concept at the Paris auto show, and said it had no plans for a US-market version. Then it was approved for the US ahead of the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, and now, according to Automotive News [sub], it’s off again. The (up to) seven-passenger MPV, built on GM’s “Delta II” compact architecture will be sold in Europe, Asia, and even Canada… just not in the US. Chevy spokesfolks explain:

The best thing to do for Chevrolet is to focus on the brands we’ve already brought to market: the Traverse, Equinox, Malibu and, soon to come, the Cruze. We feel that with those vehicles, Chevrolet has plenty of options for the modern family.

Of course, Chevy sells all three of those vehicles in Canada as well… so how are these three options “plenty” for US consumers, but not for our friendly neighbors to the North?

According to AN [sub], GM’s most vaunted “car guy” executive (now that Bob Lutz has hit the dusty trail) Mark Reuss made the move to cancel a US-market Orlando… but why? The short answer: GM’s product pipeline is jammed with compact-to-midsize crossover/MPVs. With Chevy, Buick and GMC versions of the Delta-II MPV as well as possible Buick-GMC versions of a Gamma II-platform (Aveo) MPV planned, GM had a lot of products to fit between the more-MPV-like Aveo and the Theta-platform crossovers (Equinox, Terrain) in its 2012 lineup. By offering a seven-seat compact MPV in the US, GM would be creating competition for the more profitable Theta and Lambda (Enclave, Traverse, Acadia) crossovers… and that’s the good scenario. The bad scenario would be the Orlando selling at Mazda5 levels.

And then there’s one more crucial consideration: with a Volt MPV5 being shown at the Beijing Auto Show, there’s a good chance the five-seat plug-in is coming to the US. And because the MPV5 looks so much like an Orlando with a Volt grille slapped on, GM’s planners might have thought that the MPV5 would be more successful in the US as a plug-in -only model. And maybe they’re right. Still, the Orlando is one of the more compelling (if awfully named) vehicles to be teased by GM of late… we can’t say we’re thrilled to see the US-version canceled.

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42 Comments on “Chevy Cancels US-Market Plans For Orlando Compact MPV...”


  • avatar
    Darth Lefty

    Hulu keeps giving me a choice between ads for Traverse, Equinox, or Malibu. I try to pick one but lose consciousness before I can reach the keyboard.

  • avatar
    86er

    Canadians just buy more small vehicles as a whole, plus Canada is always a good launching off point for eventual U.S. sale.

    Our safety and equipment regulations are quite similar, (by virtue of Auto Pact and not having a native industry ourselves) so it’s not hard to convert for the U.S. market.

  • avatar
    mjz

    While I didn’t like the styling, I think it is a huge mistake to cancel this for the U.S. With ever increasing fuel econmy standards, canceling a small, fuel efficient MPV just doesn’t make any sense at all.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    The bad scenario would be the Orlando selling at Mazda5 levels.

    Exactly, 20K/Orlandos/year at 50% fleet is not what GM needs.

  • avatar
    Bancho

    It’s too bad. This actually seemed like a nice MPV to slot in as a HHR replacement. It also could have made a nice panel van for light duty applications.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Did you know that, up until last year, we still got new Uplanders here? If you go to gmcanada.com, the Orlando (terrible name, by the way) is pretty much slotted in right where the Uplander was.

    The Traverse is not selling here, or at least not as well as GM would like. GM found out, much like Ford did with the Flex, that Canadians can’t be upsold into more expensive crossovers like Americans can. They need something like the Uplander if they don’t want those buyers to walk over the Chrysler or Kia instead. This is not really a bad decision: if you look at sales (in Canada) of the Caravan, Rondo and Mazda5, they’re much, much higher than the US, and they’re mostly retail, to boot. The Orlando wouldn’t make much sense, even in larger American cities: it just wouldn’t sell.

    Ford, to it’s Canadian dealers’ chagrin, still hasn’t figured this out.

    It’s interesting to see each countries’ vehicle choices: even in the most Canadian-esque states you can see a difference: where the Camry and F-150 rule American highways, here it’s the Civic and Caravan. You’ll also see about as many Mazda5s in the US as you will Expeditions in Canada. In Quebec it’s extreme; in Alberta I could almost—almost!—believe I was in Montana.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      GM found out, much like Ford did with the Flex, that Canadians can’t be upsold into more expensive crossovers like Americans can. They need something like the Uplander if they don’t want those buyers to walk over the Chrysler or Kia instead.

      Canadians are either cheapskates, frugal, or have less disposable income (maybe not for the time-being).

      Take your pick.

    • 0 avatar
      Bancho

      Based on my own Canadian friends’ habits, they seem a bit more frugal than we are in the US.

      At any rate, from the article, GM would have us in the US go for either the as yet unseen Aveo based MPV (or the Aveo itself?!) OR step up to the Equinox. At least Ford will have the 5-door Focus (and who knows, they could give us the C-Max as well, but I’m not holding my breath).

    • 0 avatar
      BDB

      From my experience, more frugal. I wonder if you see the same thing in the far Upper Midwest and upper New England?

      Right now they don’t have less disposable income. IIRC Canada wasn’t hurt nearly as badly by the economic crisis since they had actual regulators, so no crazy loans and derivatives.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Canadians are either cheapskates, frugal, or have less disposable income (maybe not for the time-being).

      The answer is, of course, d) All of the above, though I might suggest that the, ah, “price discrepancy” between American and Canadian lists might also have something to do with it.**

      ** It also has a lot to do with why I don’t own a 350Z or RX-8.

    • 0 avatar
      Otto Krump

      No one”s mentioned price of gas in Canada- averages 30-40% more than in the US. Even Americans aren’t immune to that logic, look at US buying habits during the gas spike of 2008.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    So why is Orlando such a terrible name? How is it different from other place names borrowed for car or truck names, such as Cheyenne, Tacoma, Dakota, Tucson, Santa Fe etc, etc?

  • avatar
    John Horner

    So once again, GM has an out of control global product development pipeline. How could the company design a new vehicle without having a clear view up front where it would be sold?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      That would be Bob Lutz’ work. Remember that this is the same fellow who couldn’t seem to decide, on a weekly basis, if the entire Zeta platform was on or off.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Guys, please don’t forget that when the product planning was done on this it is more than likely that GM still had all its divisions and was not yet insolvent.

      You have to cut them some slack here … it’s going to take them several years to sort out the overlap and remains of a pre-BK product portfolio.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Seems like a tremendous waste of resources to build a vehicle in NA for only the Canadian market. Is the Canadian market large enough to justify the cost of building a vehicle exclusively for it? I don’t recall any NA built vehicle being marketed exclusively in Canada ever not including any of the exclusive Canadian model names like Mercury pickups and the like.

    Based on the post from SkiD666 below me I didn’t realize the vehicle was being built in Korea.

  • avatar
    SkiD666

    The most likely reason for no Orlando in the states is that GM is production constrained. They do not have capacity to build the Orlando at any of their NA plants. The volume needed by Canada (small) can easily be satisfied by the Korean plant.

    If the vehicle proves to be a sucess in Canada, I bet they will reconsider it in the future.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Ed: It is useless to attempt to reason your way through the decisions, or more accurately, indecisions made by the GM borg. They will be reversed again in the next few months, as they always have been. The one thing that had to change at GM, clearly has not changed. They can’t create a simple strategy, nor can they implement a strategy once they have created it. The only real issue is how long this farce will continue.

  • avatar
    Accazdatch

    Its always funny.. about what GM decides to tell.

    They dump the TB and replace it with copies of the Equinox.
    They dump their vans..
    Try and downscale how overweight the GMT900 / 800 frame is.. by selling the Lambdas.. and that equates to another large vehicle in a GM shop.

    The smallest thing ya got is the Equniox.. which is a 1/4 size LARGER than the last one.

    SO.
    Ya dont have a compact vehicle.. only this LARGE LARD ASS, with the smaller Equinox as the midsizer, leaving its entire market open to “compact people movers”.

    Naturally.. they have to put more bloat in there..
    It just isnt complete..

    Give me another reason.. to hate GM.

  • avatar

    Canadians have always preferred smaller vehicles, wagons and hatchbacks.
    The Acura TSX (Fancy Honda Civic)and the Mercedes B class are examples of cars sold in Canada exclusively and not in the US.
    Generally it was because of our higher taxes and less disposable income, but I think it’s more then that.
    You just don’t see the large crossovers – Flex, Traverse – or the previous generation SUV’s – Expedition,Suburban – like you see stateside.
    Manufacturers have what’s euphemistically referred to as “Canada Value Packages” that are cheap and cheerful but would never sell in the US.
    We’ve always been more open to vehicles sold worldwide but the Auto Pact means we miss out on vehicles that would sell here but never in the US.
    That’s why the 08 Focus was not well received in Canada as no one here was hoping for a dumbed down sedan and coupe for a small car.
    The hatchback and wagon version sold way more then the sedan but Ford had their eye on the US market and that was that.
    But before I go all “smug canuck” on you it should be said F150′s and Silverados don’t exactly languish on the lots, especially in Western Canada, it’s just not to the scale of the US market.
    It’s good we’re getting the Orlando as it will sell in the Great White North and about time automakers stop assuming there’s no border on the 49th parallel, Volkswagen I’m looking in your direction.

    • 0 avatar
      Bancho

      @T.W:
      “The Acura TSX (Fancy Honda Civic)”

      Isn’t that the CSX? We get the TSX here in the US and I’ve seen a few CSX’s here in the Seattle area with BC plates. I initially did a doubletake the first time since the car was clearly a Civic but had a different name and badge (the taillights were different as well)

    • 0 avatar
      Accazdatch

      The Acura TSX you incorrectly labeled as the “fancy Honda Civic” is completely incorrect.

      THE TSX is the Accord for the Japanese market.
      Which is why the TSX is coming over with the WAGON / Tourer model, but without the manual or the 2.2ltr i-ctdi

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      The Acura TSX (Fancy Honda Civic)

      You meant CSX. I believe it stands for “Civic, Super Expensive”.

      Otherwise in general agreement with your assessment of the Cdn mkt.

      It’s never advisable to generalize too much (as I just did!) but on the whole we’re close to the mark.

      Your note about the West is apt, for it does resemble the U.S. market more closely. Mind you, there’s also a rural/urban split, much like in the U.S.

      Edit: Holy, the commenters on here are fast. Poor T.W. will think we’ve jumped down his throat over a minor error!

    • 0 avatar
      tced2

      The Acura TSX is built on the Japan/European Accord platform (not the Civic platform, and not the US Accord). To my knowledge, this is true for both the 1st and 2nd gen versions of the TSX.

    • 0 avatar

      My mistake on the fancy Honda Civic it is the CSX.
      It didn’t look right when I wrote it and yet I posted it anyway.
      Thanks to all for pointing that out.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      Yes, you’ll never make that mistake again! :P

      TTAC: Where Correction Chimps Lie in Wait.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      So what is the “auto pact”?

      I agree that GM doesn’t spend much time or money on making a good small vehicle. Once they give it a go (Astra) they don’t have much patience to wait and see if it will sell here in the USA. Either it is an instant hit or they cancel it in just a couple short years. I saw my third Astra since they started selling them here and it’s a nice compact car. Should have been serious competition for the Mazda 3 which around here sold by the dozens and dozens. Obviously people here like the TYPE of car (four door hatch). Your comment about bloated SUVs is spot on.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Earth to GM: The Chevrolet HHR is getting to be way past it’s “sale by” date and the Matrix/Vibe alternative is no longer part of GM’s portfolio.

    Two days after the Israelis smoke the Iranian nuke sites, GM will wish it had a small wagon/hatchback that is this size.

  • avatar
    forraymond

    Damn GM. I have been waiting for a decent replacement for my ’04 Vue. It has been near perfect in every way. The new Vue/Equinox/GMC Whatever/Cadillac SRX is not laid out as well for my purposes. I have been waiting and waiting for a better box from GM. The HHR is just a mess.

    I will not buy Japanese or Korean (wherever it is made).

    What the hell happened to the MINIVAN (affordable transportation, easy loading, sufficient interior capacity, manageable size, decent mileage)?

    I need an enclosed vehicle that can haul things.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Well, there’s always the (Turkish-built) Ford Transit Connect or the (Canadian-built, part-Italian-owned) Dodge Caravan.

      Or you could get over the whole “who owns the badge on the nose” thing because it really doesn’t matter.

    • 0 avatar
      Accazdatch

      The GMC Terrain.. and the VUE triplets.. virtually replaced the TB and its horde as being the midsizers of the GM family.. with their largest discernible feature… being their unibody design.. instead of the body on frame..

      The minivan you speak of..
      This practical vehicle is one GM can not design and or sell properly. They made the minivans so completely hopeless with a design dating back 20yrs.. with the same concept as the Lambdas, little to no design or feature difference in the vehicles they made. Often said buyer buys one or the other van.. self competing.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Looks like a cool vehicle, but you make a good point point about the Mazda 5. Given GM’s track record with small vehicles, they might be wise to hold off in the US while they work out any teething issues and the market improves.

  • avatar
    daga

    The Volt rationale makes some sense. Could also be some signs of badge engineering disciple if they go ahead with the Granite; however, I’m still of the opinion that GMC shouldn’t play there, especially not as a volume play.

    It kind of bugs me when people refer to models or nameplates as “brands” like the random GM spokesperson did.

    Also, Canadians are quite a bit less car-crazy than americans. Cars are less ingrained in the mind up there.

  • avatar
    rmwill

    What an ugly vehicle.

  • avatar
    Rusted Source

    Remember that Canada thought being a British lap dog was actually a good idea. Therefore the Queen’s sense and sensibility attitude has filtered down over the decades and Canadians now have this thing they value called “practicality”.

    We’re over-taxed, snow-dumped, too-polite citizens who have learned to love small vehicles and don’t go for the “shucks ma, I can get a bigger ass car for just another $1000″ attitude.

    There are other direct car related factors that come in to play though such as the lack of entry level options. Audi’s don’t sell with a FWD option here and there’s so such thing as a stripper CR-V. Our base level trim is usually low to mid-range in the U.S. so you are sometimes completely chased away from certain models before you are even offered the up-sell.

    That means that more eyes get diverted to smaller, cheaper cars which like the ugly girl next door, if you look at long enough you’ll find something attractive about them.

  • avatar
    bmoredlj

    I’ve been expecting this ever since the Orlando was removed from Chevy’s “future products” page. I’m disappointed. I’m confident had the potential to sell in similar numbers as the HHR, but I guess GM either didn’t share that confidence or is going to wait and see what happens to the small MPV trend that started with the Mazda5 and Rondo and will be joined by Ford’s forthcoming S-Max. However many small 5-doors Ford develops, The People continue to like the old Escape the best. This blog once complained about too many crossovers in the GM pipeline…well, I guess here’s one less to confuse consumers for now.

  • avatar
    Tortoiseme

    I understand why people flame GM, lets face it they deserve it. But really, this was the right decision. Orland wouldn’t sell in the US in numbers that justify importing it. Canada is a different market (yes more frugal, and practical) It stands a chance here.

    • 0 avatar
      Accazdatch

      Ive learned a long time ago… that GM doesnt give a shit.. about what you want.

      They dont care.. what I want.

      They want Suburbans and Tahoes for all (and all of their copies). They want Lambdas for those tho are dumb enough to think they are more fuel efficient than the Tahoes and Burbans.
      They want the Equinox to be a midzier leaving the bottom slime open.

      They dont care about lightweight driveable cars.
      Dont shit me with Camaro.
      The Sky / Solstice died because they couldn’t market it properly.

      The Orlando.. could easily be sold along side the GMC Terrain in Chevy dealerships as a smaller Lambda.

      We (meaning those who buy GM) don’t have control as to what GM sells.

      Just another choice that GM doesn’t have to market against itself.
      I can go on.. for years about the dozens of vehicles that do just that.

      Or mention the Malibu and or Impala together.. for an instant reminder.

  • avatar
    gsnfan

    If it had the stickshift and the sliding doors, it could compete with the Mazda5. They don’t sell well, but if gas prices spike, then people will trade their Siennas, Odysseys, and Grand Caravans (and possibly their Highlanders, Pilots, and Lambdas) for something like this.

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    GM still doesn’t want to sell small cars. They don’t ever make them money, and they are always crap anyway. The Japanese and Hyundai have that market cornered. I dont think I’d want anything designed by Gm Korea (Daewoo) anyway.


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