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Could this be the next Barina?


Chevrolet is wheeling out the metaphors and hyperbole as it whips up enthusiasm for its new Spark minicar which debuts at the Geneva motor show next month

GM is touting the hatchback (the green car pictured) as a car for all nations and all people – it’s apparently designed to appeal “to young and mature drivers alike.”

Which is at least a more realistic approach than we’re used to hearing from car companies introducing new small cars.

Invariably, we’re told, these cars are going to induce a buying frenzy among New Zealand’s young when the reality is that the folks who actually buy them are in their sixties and seventies.

Chevy reckons the Spark “breaks the mould for minicars and takes Chevrolet's signature styling elements to this vehicle segment in a youthful, fun and fashion-conscious way.”

It’s based on the Beat concept car unveiled, with two rival Chevy designs, in 2007. GM conducted a poll on the internet in which a clear majority of the 1.9 million people who voted said the Beat was the car they wanted produced.

Will we see the car here? GM says it’s a global car – the “latest interpretation of Chevrolet’s new global design strategy” – and will be on sale in Europe, the USA India and “other core markets.”

Whether we see it depends on whether it goes into Australia where it would wear a Holden badge.

Given GM’s stated intention of shifting to smaller and more fuel-efficient cars, we may well see it – as a Barina or Barina replacement.

The Spark is 3640mm long (the current Daewoo-designed Barina is 3880mm) and rides on a 2375mm wheelbase. 

Chevy is initially offering the Spark in Europe with 1.0 and 1.2-litre petrol engines, and is promising the car will have “outstanding passenger space, entertaining driving characteristics.”

Holden would almost certainly want a bigger engine (the current Barina has a 1.6-litre developing 76kW and 145Nm), though the previous model Opel-designed Barina was a 1.4.

One car we will see, though, is the Chevrolet Cruze (the red car pictured here) built in Australia as a Holden and probably badged as a Viva.

Cruze engines include 1.6 or 1.8-litre petrol engines, and a 2.0-litre diesel. Holden will build the mid-sizer alongside the Commodore in Elisabeth, South Australia.



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