GM to Build Chevwoos in Ohio
A couple of weeks ago, we reported that GM would be building a new small car at the Lordstown OH plant where they now build Cobalts and Pontiac G5s. Wards reveals the mystery car: the next-gen Chevy Optra, replacing the Cobalt/G5. The Optra (AKA Daewoo Lacetti, Suzuki Forenza and Buick Excelle) will be produced at GM-Daewoo's plant in Gunsan, Korea starting toward the end of this year. Production will expand to Ohio in 2010 "pending conclusion of GM's negotiations to obtain state and local investment incentives from Ohio authorities." The U.S.-spec Optra will feature a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with "considerably upscale" and "sporty" styling. It'll be joined by a redesigned Aveo (Daewoo Gentra) in an "entirely new portfolio of Chevrolet small and compact vehicles." In a move akin to the "Chevy Classic," "Malibu Classic" and "Silverado Classic" games GM's played in the past, the Gunsan plant will continue to produce the current Optra "for certain export markets" along with the "dramatically different" new model. That "dramatic difference" better include dramatic improvements in materials and build quality if Chevy expects to sell it in what's becoming a highly competitive small car market.
@willbodine "Wasn’t Lordstown built originally to produce the Vega?" No, Lordstown has been in production since the mid-1960's. The first product out of there was the Impala/Bonneville. Later they switched to Camaro/Firebird production. In the early 1970's they produced the Vega/Astre, and the later H-body variations, Monza/Starfire, etc. It seems like most of my life they produced the J-body Cavalier/Sunbird/Sunfire, and in 2004 switched to the Delta body Cobalt/G5. At one time they had a van plant (the old Beaumont passenger and the cargo vans), but that got shifted to Flint some time ago. Vegas were only a small part of the story there. A lot has changed since the 1970's.
GM is now selling the same vehicles across a number of nameplates across the globe. It is getting confusing as to where these designs originated and if they are the same from place to place or just similar. While the Saturn Aura is based on the similar but not same Epsilon chassis as the Opel Vectra (as is the Malibu, G6, Saab 9-3), I thought the Opel Antara and Saturn Vue and Chevy Captiva etc were all the same CUV with different badges. I was expecting the next Cobalt to be the same as the next Opel Astra ( currently similar but not the same. The Saturn Astra and Opel Astra ARE the same) and the same as the next Daewoo Whatever. Phew! I'm confused...
@Frank: re: Vue/Antara/Winstorm. GMDAT engineered all three. Minor sheet metal differences. I've been in all three, you can only tell the difference by the sound of the powertrain.
Funny... The Cobalt actually has decent "bones", and an improved/refined version with increased fuel economy could do well -- A Daewoo Turbo? Better be bulletproof. Just seems like the wrong move; completely re-tooling that plant - what the hell is GM up to?