By on July 6, 2017

Image: 2011 Chevrolet Montana, image via Wikipedia

Today we feature the second entry to our Domestics Abroad series. Here’s where we take a look at the international models proffered around the world that wear a domestic company’s badge on the grille, but are not offered in their brands’ domestic markets. This is ground zero for “you can’t get that here.” All nameplates you’ll see in this series are current production models.

We kicked off this series with Ford, and its 13 qualifying models. Our second entry is Chevrolet, which also places second in number of models.

Here are Chevrolet’s nine entries, in alphabetical order:

CMV

Image: 2013 Chevrolet CMV

What’s presently called the Chevrolet CMV was formerly the Suzuki Carry. It’s a Japanese Kei utility van and truck nameplate with quite a varied history.

Originally the idea of Suzuki all the way back in 1961, the general principles of small and utilitarian have stayed in place. This little carryall has worn a Ford badge, a Maruti logo in India, Bedford in the United Kingdom, along with Holden, Mitsubishi, Autozam, Vauxhall, Nissan, and now Chevrolet. Production was handed over to Daewoo in 1992, and since 2011 it has been produced by GM Korea.

Montana

Image: 2011 Chevrolet Montana, image via Wikipedia

Well, look at this here. A little compact pickup truck, and one that’s front-wheel-drive based. The Montana (not the Pontiac van), which has been around since 2003, is based on the Opel Corsa hatchback. The nearest market that receives the Montana is Mexico, where it’s called the Tornado. There’s a diesel engine option, and it’s a 1.3-liter Fiat Multijet. How about that?

Niva

Image: 2018 Chevrolet Niva Concept, via Wikipedia

You probably know about the Lada Niva, the old Russian utility vehicle which was once sold in the United States of Canada but not in The America. Since 1998, GM and AvtoVAZ (parent of Lada) have worked together on successively more modern versions of the Niva. Produced in Russia, the Niva gets a new generation for 2018 with a reworked, crossover-style shape. The above photo is from the concept’s debut, but is rumored to be identical to the production version.

Optra

Image: 2017 Chevrolet Optra, image via GM.

For the Egyptian and Algerian markets only, Chevrolet takes a GM-Wuling Baojun 630 from the Chinese market, and swaps some badges and lights. The results speak for themselves.

Orlando

Image: 2011 Chevrolet Orlando, via Wikipedia

This one’s interesting — a compact CUV which Canada received but America did not. Produced by GM Korea since 2011, the Orlando is built on the same Delta II platform as the first-generation Cruze and Cadillac ELR. The Orlando was discontinued in the Canadian market after 2014, but is still sold elsewhere. I’m getting Kia Borrego chills from this photo.

Prisma

Image: Chevrolet Prisma, via Wikipedia

On sale in the South American market, the Prisma is assembled in Brazil. The hatchback version receives the Onix name, and either version can be equipped with 1.0- or 1.4-liter gasoline engines. It doesn’t seem like we’re missing much with this one.

Sail

Image: 2015 Chevrolet Sail, via Wikipedia

The second Chinese vehicle on our list, the Sail, is in its third generation. Successful in its home market and abroad, the Sail is exported widely across Asia and South America. This vehicle is also an interesting example of car model consolidation over time. In 2001, the Sail began with sedan, hatchback, wagon, and van utility options, and production took place in four different countries. The current generation is produced only as a sedan, and only in China.

Spin

Image: 2013 Chevrolet Spin, via GM

A mini MPV, the Spin has not been a great sales success. Originally produced in Indonesia and Brazil, slow sales caused GM to shut down Indonesian production after not quite two and a half years. This vehicle is built on the same Gamma platform as the Sonic and Trax.

Tavera

Image: 2017 Chevrolet Tavera, image via GM.

Definitely the oldest vehicle on this list, the Chevrolet Tavera started out in life as an Isuzu all the way back in 1991. Isuzu produced the Tavera in Indonesia until 2007, when Chevrolet took over and moved production to India. It’s known as an MUV, a multi-purpose utility vehicle. Rolls right off the tongue, eh?

Tune in soon for Part III of Domestics Abroad, The Unmentionables.

[Images: Wikipedia; General Motors]

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47 Comments on “Domestics Abroad: Part II – Chevrolet’s Foreign Fare...”


  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I would very much like to own a Tornado/Montana. I’m sure there are at least a dozen other Americans who would buy one too, which is not enough to sell them here.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      I feel the vast majority of Americans would reject it based upon size. It’s really quite small. See this one in front of a Jetta.

      https://i1.wp.com/www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/chevy-tornado.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        eggsalad

        I totally agree! We’ll never see the likes of it here. People who use trucks as manhood extenders would just laugh and laugh and laugh.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “manhood extenders”

          Just keep telling yourself that size doesn’t matter!

          The Montana will not sell for the simple reason that it has just 2 doors.

          Does Toyota or Nissan still make a regular cab small truck?
          Nope!
          Did the new Colorado/Canyon offer a regular cab configuration?
          Nope!
          Toyota just discontinued the regular cab Tundra.

          4 doors and room for 4-5 or don’t bother trying to enter the USA or Canadian market.

          • 0 avatar
            DevilsRotary86

            And yet Ford, GM, and FCA all still offer their 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton trucks with regular cabs. Go figure.

            Odd enough, since I am a home owner who refuses to ever own a truck, SUV, CUV, station wagon, or anything ‘handy’, I drive both 1/2 and 3/4 ton regular cab trucks at least a few times a year. Invariably with either “Home Depot” or “U-Haul” painted on the side.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            DevilsRotary,
            I think you’ll find 75% of pickups sold are not really needed by those who buy them. They are wants and we can afford them.

            Even at work we have a number of F150 crew cab rentals and the most they carry are the workers and their bags.

            I really get to chuckle at the emotional driven paradigms regarding pickups, including ours.

            Don’t get me wrong some are used for work.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “And yet Ford, GM, and FCA all still offer their 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton trucks with regular cabs. Go figure.
            And they are driven by young single guys or older emptynesters. The vast majority are used by commercial operators.

            Go figure!

      • 0 avatar
        statikboy

        @ Corey Lewis
        Man, that really IS quite small… Mind you, the Jetta is pretty porky for a compact these days.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Yup. An almost ideal size for me. I don’t need nor want anything bigger, as long as it has sufficient room behind the driver’s seat to drop a couple bowling bags.

    • 0 avatar
      syncro87

      Count me in. That’s two of us, we need ten more.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Last time we were in Mexico we saw these everywhere. For us as a utility vehicle and grocery getter, it would be feckin’ perfect. But as noted, they would probably sell 20 a month in the states. Small FWD pickup truck that can navigate urban areas, manual, and diesel? Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice…and will never sell.

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      I have seen these in Texas, with Mexican plates of course. Most often around holidays like Christmas, or during summer break. I agree, they do look cool.

      Not sure I am among your dozens though.

    • 0 avatar
      ezs

      This the worst compact pick-up truck in the Brazilian market! We gently call it “Monstrana”, a junction of the word monster in portuguese with ana.

      The best, and most sold for at least 10 years, is the Fiat Strada, with std, extended and crew cab with 3 doors!

      https://goo.gl/images/c7Z9D8

      Back door is suicide: https://goo.gl/images/RzqLeB

      Rear suspension uses elliptical springs, so it handles heavy loads much better than competition.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I always thought the Strada could have had some traction in North America. It looks decent and had at least a somewhat useable back seat.

        I assume the 2.4L would fit and they could certify a (whisper it) diesel as an upgrade option.

        • 0 avatar
          Dashboard89

          This is a sentiment I hold as well, it’s not like Fiat has a very diverse car portfolio at the moment. I feel as if something like this could at least make them stand out more in comparison to some of the other small car, small proliferation manufacturers.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Diesel, to me, is a downgrade option. Especially since diesel costs more than both regular and mid-grade gasoline where I live; so any economy advantage is lost.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I don’t care that much about what brand but the Fiat Strada has always been my first choice. It comes down to which one arrives in the US. If it’s the Montana, then I’ll buy one. If it’s the Strada, I’ll be the first to their door.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      The front view makes it look like a ute from Down Under! Perhaps it’s the structure in back of the doors, which reminds me of the Holden Commodore from that angle.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Make that a baker’s dozen, as I’d be in for something like that. I don’t need/want a F-150. This would be ideal for hauling stuff to the dump, picking up flowers and mulch bags from Home Depot and the like. Plus, with a diesel and manual trans (if so offered), it looks like it might also be a tad bit of fun to drive.

      Alas, it’d never sell in America. We don’t do “little” anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Add me to the list of those who’d be interested in a FWD-based trucklet like this. The utility of my current beater Ranger with FWD winter traction and I’m assuming better fuel economy. Offer a base model with a stick for about $15k and I’m there!

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      It would have worked for me in my 20s, back when I had a Ranger (the smallest truck I could find at the time).

      I have three kids now, two of whom are in carseats, so I’m going to need bigger vehicles for the next 18 years or so.

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      The VW Caddy and Dodge Rampage were so successful the first time around, why not try again?

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      But you can’t carry rocks or tow a bulldozer….

      I agree actually.

      I spent a fair amount of time driving these types of vehicles in my younger days. I put quite a few miles on Fiat Fiorinos when I lived in Italy for a few years. They were useful for modest loads.

      I suspect that in the USA we could accomplish everything they did and more with a trailer without giving up our CUVs.

  • avatar
    HEOJ

    I think Chevy could’ve given Ford a run for there money, they have a few more out there we don’t get. Aveo, Beat, Captiva, Colbalt, Trailblazer, S10(kinda sorta it is different than the US Colorado are all out there a little further south.

    http://www.chevrolet.com.mx/aveo-2018-auto-sedan.html

    http://www.chevrolet.com.mx/beat-2018-auto-compacto.html

    http://chevroletcr.com/captiva-7.php

    http://www.chevrolet.com.br/suvs/trailblazer.html

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      Just because the name changes doesn’t mean we don’t get the car.

      Aveo Sedan = Old Aveo
      Beat = Spark
      Captiva = Old Capitva

      Trailblazer is valid, and we can include it in the Unmentionables entry.

      • 0 avatar
        HEOJ

        Gotcha, wasn’t sure if this was vehicles we don’t have now or only vehicle we never got at all.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        I was looking for the TrailBlazer, I was disappointed to see it wasn’t on the list.

        A brand new (Chevy badged) old school Isuzu Trooper is certainly worth a look too.

        You should link to the entire series (or the 1st one in this case) in each additional article in the series, like Murlee does (forgive me if I misspelled the name). Just a thought. I like your articles man, I look forward to them.

        By the way, Corey, I am not sure if I mentioned that Ford Cargo you pictured on the previous installment is not the freshest style. I know its on Wikipedia, but its the outgoing model, as I believe it had a generational change after the style you pictured,
        (it wouldn’t surprise me if the old style was still on sale as well).

        I found a Ford Cargo 816, a smaller truck that looks like the size of a Mitsubishi Cantor, Isuzu ELF or the Hino cabovers that are sold here. I would like to see Ford try it here, but the LCF was such a clusterphuck, I doubt they want to bother with another medium duty COE for our market.

        Other than the 25% import tax, I wonder what it would take to get it to pass crash tests and emissions standards set for commercial trucks of its size.

        Itd make a great roll-back tow truck or a hot shot truck (both of which I’d love it for, I was thinking of a Hino COE with a long flatbed as an alternative to a 1 ton pick-up and goose neck trailer for that type of work).

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          Yeah some of these I went for “ease of picture finding” as when you get into foreign websites, permissions are questionable.

          The Trailblazer got lost on the spiderweb of navigating what’s made and what isn’t, and where. If this were pre 2016, this list would have several more entries I believe.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    The Chevrolet Matiz, marketed in Asia, Europe and Latin America, is also worth a look.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KJLkZRooJs

    • 0 avatar
      HEOJ

      I’m not entirely sure the Matiz is still kicking. A lot of markets that carried the Matiz replaced it with the first version of the Spark that came to the U.S. after the current Spark came out.

  • avatar

    The second Chinese vehicle on our list, the Sail, is in its third generation. Successful in its home market and abroad, the Sail is exported widely across Asia and South America. This vehicle is also an interesting example of car model consolidation over time. In 2001, the Sail began with sedan, hatchback, wagon, and van utility options, and production took place in four different countries. The current generation is produced only as a sedan, and only in China.

    I rented one in Chile in 2012. I was the first user, starting at 30 km at the airport in Santiago. Two weeks later I gave it back to Budget with 4,077 km on the odo. The Budget guy walked around the car three times expecting to find some damage, but there wasn’t any. The car was absolutely flawless at 30 kph and at 4,077. As a former manager of fleets of cars loaned to the press for testing, I would have given the car to Car and Driver or the NY Times at 30 kph or at 4,077. It was startlingly flawless.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    The Montana/Tornado, especially as an extended (but not crew) cab is exactly what I’m looking for as a small truck–especially in an AWD version.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Dear Penthouse forum, I found exactly what I was looking for the other day; it was foreign;it was brown and it was tranny that I could manipulate manually……..

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Vulpine,
      You can buy a litttle flat bed Kei truck. They are slod in the US.

      Get a job in a large plant with a comprehensive road network so you can drive it around.

      I want to be a railway (railroad in ‘Murican) tycoon.

      This is out of my reach, so I have my model train layout.

      Or you can buy a RC pickup.

      Or just leave the US to a country that has tiny pickups. To me your problem is an easy fix.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Nothing easier than relocating to another country for the single purpose of buying a pickup truck.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          How about buying the closest thing to what you want that is available?

          Adaptability and opposable thumbs are supposed to be what makes mankind great!

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            He wouldn’t have any minutiae to harp on about if he did that.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “How about buying the closest thing to what you want that is available?”

            Because the closest thing to what I want is too big and the wife simply can’t drive them because the seats are too close to the pedals, even when pushed ALL the way back. Yes, she even tried a Canyon and found it almost as tight as my Ranger…yet had all the room in the world in her Fiat 500 and now her Jeep Renegade.

            … think about it.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Or live in a US state where folks are allowed to register these Kei trucks as motorcycles along with their side by side ATVs.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I always try to figure out why a vehicle that we can’t have usually adds up to a not inconsiderable amount of online excitement. Is it that familiarity breeds contempt or an anti-american bias? Both?

    Recently my friend was sending pictures of RHD Skylines because they’ve finally been authorized to be imported. My only thought was bored bemusement. If I were to act all excited it would only ne because that’s the expected response. I don’t kniw what makes them so special over the things we can have.

    I enjoy looking at cars, reading about cars, figuring out what makes them work, but I just can’t understand the draw of foreign only vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      The Skyline was once known in the US as the 200SX and it was a nearly ideally-sized car for singles in the ’70s and ’80s. I was a particular fan of the hatchback (liftback) style though the ‘notchback’ offered a sense of style over sport. The fact that they were taken away, in my opinion, started Nissan’s fall as until then they were very favorably compared with the Toyotas but now are notably lower in status and sales. Oh, every company has made mistakes over the years, but to hear the commentary about Nissans today suggests that if it weren’t for Mitsubishi, Nissan would be the Fiat of Japan. (But then, I happen to like Fiat’s products and would like to see more of them available.)

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Why can’t we have all these foreign vehicles here? Make the crash test videos available to everyone as a matter of fact and cut them loose into the “wild” to be driven, bought and sold.

      They will be safer than a Harley-Davidson which is legal despite passing no crash tests whatsoever.


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