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Car confidential: GM puts a little olé into Chevrolet

To the petrol head car driver, rebadging Daewoo’s humble range as Chevrolets was a crime against motoring, an affront to American idols like the Corvette.

To General Motors, the rebranding was a necessary evil: bankruptcy had forced Daewoo’s UK approval rating below that of the Monster Raving Looney party. But, as bosses announced the golden bow-tie would replace the waterfall badge, they promised desirable metal to put the olé into Chevrolet.

Last week, GM did just that, by unveiling the T2X concept car at the Seoul motor show. The funky coupe-4x4 crossbreed was not branded, although it will turn up at Frankfurt wearing the Chevy nose. And it’s bound for European showrooms in two years or so.

GM bosses had four proposals for the headline-grabbing Chevy, including a rear-wheel drive sports car based on the Kappa architecture. The T2X got the nod first, because bosses believe a crossover-SUV has the greatest global sales potential. It will form a two-pronged attack on the SUV market, with the production version of the S3X. The X5-sized seven-seater arrives in May 2006.

The T2X rides on a modified version of the S3X’s four-wheel drive Theta platform. Width, length, overhangs and roofline are all reduced for the sportier five-seat version. No word on whether the production car gets the concept’s rear hinged back doors, although they exist within GM’s Saturn portfolio.

Both SUVs share engines: 155bhp 2.2-litre and 195bhp 2.6-litre V6 petrols, and a new 2.0-litre diesel with around 140bhp, expected to debut in the Lacetti this summer.

There’ll be plenty of new Chevys before the T2X lands. Next up is the new Evanda, a front-wheel drive Mondeo rival which hints at BMW’s 5-series; sales begin next summer. The facelifted Kalos hatch is due in late 2006/early 2007, with a 1.8-litre hot hatch mooted. And an all-new, seven-seat Tacuma MPV is also in the pipeline.

Sources vow it, like the T2X, will redefine our perceptions of Chevrolet. “The Tacuma replacement is aspirational, and the T2X is a very dramatic statement, an image vehicle for the new Chevrolet,” says one insider.

 

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