March 3, 2011
A hatchback version of Chevrolet’s all-new Cruze compact has been revealed – but don’t expect to see one stateside. Chevrolet showed off the new bodystyle at the Geneva Auto Show, but according to the G.M. brand, the handsome five-door won’t be offered in the United States.
The production version of the Cruze hatchback follows up on a concept version revealed at the Paris Auto Show last September, which Chevrolet says was warmly received. The Cruze hatchback has been confined to European shows because of its importance in Europe, where buyers prefer hatchbacks to sedans nearly two to one – the opposite of American tastes.
“Hatchbacks play a critical role in many markets,” said Wayne Brannon, president and managing director of Chevrolet Europe. “The total compact segment in Europe represents over a quarter of the total market, with hatchbacks representing around 65 percent of that volume.”
Chevrolet says that the Cruze hatchback will feature three engine choices including one diesel, split-folding 60/40 rear seats, and nearly 15 cubic feet of cargo volume. Considered a large hatchback by European standards, the Cruze will compete with perennial European best-sellers like the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus. Although the Cruze is Chevrolet’s top-selling global nameplate, its sales figures don’t rival those models – but Chevrolet has high hopes.
“The new Cruze hatchback cements Chevrolet’s claim for a place among the mainstream brands in Europe,” said Brannon, adding that the Cruze “is a vehicle that will bring new levels of value against some of the more established competition.”
While Chevrolet has promised the Cruze hatchback will go on sale in Europe this summer, Americans will have to make do with the Cruze sedan. That’s probably because American Cruzes – manufactured at GM’s Lordstown assembly plant in Ohio – come from a different factory than European Cruzes, which are built in South Korea. Still, considering the growing popularity of hatchbacks in America, we wouldn’t rule out the Cruze hatch finding its way to the States one day.
JEFFREY ARCHER is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.