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Chevrolet Cruze unwrapped in China

I spy: Chevrolet's Chinese market Cruze features a more premium looking cabin that the current model.

Chinese-market Chevrolet Cruze spied ahead of expected Beijing motor show debut

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Chevrolet logo1 Apr 2014

By TIM NICHOLSON

UPDATED
02/04/2014THE new-generation Chevrolet Cruze has been spied undisguised in China ahead of its launch around the world in 2015.

Images published by Chinese automotive publication Auto Sohu overnight show the vehicle that reports are suggesting will be officially unveiled at next month's Beijing motor show.

The vehicle in the images is a Chinese-market Cruze, but judging by previous spy shots of the next-gen model, it appears to maintain the same basic shape as those disguised test cars.

It is unclear how the Chinese-market model will differentiate from other versions of GM's global small-car contender, but it could follow the current version that features light styling tweaks and different cabin materials to its US and Australian twins.

Holden corporate communications manager Sean Poppitt said the new Cruze will start to roll out globally in 2015 with each iteration tailored to its specific market.

“The first iteration of the next-gen Cruze will be announced later this year in China,” he said. “This all-new 2015 Cruze was developed specifically for consumer tastes and needs in China.

“Differentiated variants for other markets will launch in due course. The Cruze program is flexible enough to meet regional markets needs without compromise.

We have no additional info about those variants to announce today.”

Holden's future model plans remain under wraps, with some reports suggesting that it could switch the sourcing of a number of its models, including its small car, from South Korea to Europe, following Opel's withdrawal from the local market last year.

The next-generation Cruze and Opel Astra are likely to be more closely aligned and share more of their underpinnings than the current models, meaning Holden could choose the European sourced Astra over the Korean-built Cruze for its next-generation small car. It remains to be seen.

GoAuto reported last month that the all-new Chinese-market Cruze due in 2015 would benefit from GM's new family of small displacement Ecotec petrol engines, including two four-cylinder units – a 110kW/235Nm 1.4-litre turbo and 84kW/146Nm 1.5-litre normally aspirated.

Chevrolet has swapped the sharper edges and squared-off look of the current Cruze for a smoother, more rounded design while maintaining the existing model's aggressive front-end styling.

The grille is slightly larger and the Chevy bow-tie has shifted location from the separating line of the twin-grille to the top intake, while the fog-light surrounds are more prominent than before, providing a more modern look.

The head-lights are similar in design to the facelifted Ford Focus that will arrive in Australia in quarter one next year, while the tail-lights are slightly reminiscent of the current Kia Cerato and even the Toyota Corolla sedan.

Updates to to cabin appear to be quite significant, with Chevrolet opting for a more premium feel this time around, although the leather-look dash, stitching and chrome flourishes may be purely Chinese-market-only touches.

A large multimedia screen dominates the centre stack and the Cruze appears to gain a new steering wheel and new audio and and air conditioning controls.

Holden produces the current Cruze at its Elizabeth, South Australia plant, but the second-gen model will not be built here and it remains unclear when it will stop manufacturing the current-generation sedan and hatch range.

The company announced late last year that it will shut its Australian manufacturing operations in 2017 and while it will continue to build the VF Commodore until then, it is yet to confirm whether the Cruze will continue to be built alongside it in first-gen guise.

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