Domestics Abroad: Part II - Chevrolet's Foreign Fare

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • Vulpine Vulpine on Jul 06, 2017

    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.

    • See 9 previous
    • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Jul 15, 2017

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

  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Jul 07, 2017

    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.

    • See 2 previous
    • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Jul 15, 2017

      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.

  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Defender looks way better than the Bronco in both 2-door and 4-door.
  • ToolGuy I found this particular episode to be incredibly offensive.I am shocked that eBay Motors is supporting this kind of language and attitudes in 2024.I will certainly keep this in mind next time I am choosing where to buy auto parts (I buy a LOT of auto parts).
  • SaulTigh When I was young in the late 80's one of my friends had the "cool dad." You know the guy, first to buy a Betamax and a C-band satellite dish. Couple of stand up arcade games in the den. Bought my friend an Atari 2600 as soon as they came out. He had two of these crap heaps. One that only ran half the time and one for parts in the yard. My middle school brain though he was the most awesome dad ever, buying us pizza and letting us watch R rated movies recorded on free HBO weekend. At the time I though he was much better than my boring father.Now with adult hindsight, I now know he was "dad who should have taken better care of his family" and not had so many toys.
  • Dave Has to be Indy 500. Many more leaders and front passes than NASCAR, and Monaco is unwatchable with the inability to pass on that circuit.
  • Jeff How did the discussion get from an article about a 56 billion dollar pay package for Elon Musk to a proposal to charge a per mile tax on EVs in California or paying increase registration on vehicles to make up for lost gas tax revenue? I thought such a discussion would better fit Matt's Gas Wars series.
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