Back in Time: GM Uzbekistan Increases Production of Cars Forgotten Here

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
back in time gm uzbekistan increases production of cars forgotten here

Foreign markets are no stranger to selling cars that have long gone out of production here in the States. The VW Beetle was produced for sale in Mexico well after the calendar flipped into Y2K, while the Nissan Tsuru — essentially a Sentra from the mid-90s which remained in production until 2017 — bit the dust after crash tests showed it to be the structural equivalent of a wet cardboard box. The Peugeot 405 stuck around as a new car in Iran longer than just about anywhere else on the planet.

GM has a plant in Uzbekistan employing 8,000 people, with the capacity to make about 250,000 cars a year. Some nameplates you’ll recognize, like the Chevy Tracker. A few are renamed versions of machines long-gone from the American market. And others are familiar names dressed up in strange sheet metal.

Our esteemed Associate Editor, currently traipsing around Newfoundland in the new GMC Sierra, is an unabashed fan of the Chevy Cobalt. His object of desire is probably not the one they make in Uzbekistan, though. With headlights stretched like a botched Hollywood facelift, the Cobalt shown here bears little resemblance to the machine that plies our roads. That interior looks familiar, with dash gauges nabbed from an American-market Spark and a steering wheel that’s shown up in any number of Chevys on this side of the pond.

Others, like the Spark and Matiz, simply seem to be continuations of those nameplate’s last-gen models, complete with the funky colors for which they were know. I’m digging the side stripe on this Chevrolet Damas van.

The Tracker, slated for appearance later this year, appears to be a Trax-type crossover, sharing a heckuva lot of sheet metal with the mini-crossover currently being floorplanned at dealer lots across the nation. Comparing this modern machine to the Damas above, it’s hard to believe they inhabit the same planet, let alone the same showroom.

This helpful overlay demonstrates the Tracker’s size compared to a nameless compact sedan, two humans, and — critically — a dog. I now plan to embark on a campaign to lobby all American manufacturers to include a dog in the dimensions section of their press releases.

Fun fact: in Uzbekistan, GM’s offerings are marketed under the Chevrolet banner, as shown here. Outside those borders? Look for a Ravon badge, a name which puts me immediately in mind of Buddy Holly or maybe even John Mellencamp.

According to Wards Auto, Uzbek State statistics say last year’s total production at GM Uzbekistan grew more than 50 percent to 135,471 vehicles, compared to 2016. The Nexia (old-school Aveo) accounted for the lion’s share of production, at 34,000 units. Those in the know say The General has high hopes for this business, as it could help grow its presence in the Middle East and African markets.

[Images: General Motors]

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  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Aug 22, 2018

    I'd be curious if the Traxer has a different rear end than we get here from the Trax and if it looks any better. Generally speaking, from the picture provided, that blue Traxer isn't wholly unpleasant.

  • DweezilSFV DweezilSFV on Aug 23, 2018

    That Cobalt is better looking than the current Cruze, actually.

  • ToolGuy 404 error on the product link. Which probably isn't terrific marketing on TTAC's part. https://thinkwarestore.com/product/f200-pro-ca
  • ToolGuy Second picture: Do you like pegboard storage? (I don't.)
  • ToolGuy "WHAT???"(old 'I was in the artillery' joke)
  • ToolGuy Oh and this.
  • ToolGuy "The boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Hillingdon, and Harrow have likewise announced plans to take legal action to force a possible judicial review..."But: "In Hartford, Hereford, and Hampshire... Hurricanes hardly happen."
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