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Finally, Chevrolet to launch Cruze hatch in US

Hatch opens: Chevrolet’s new North American Cruze is set to gain a five-door version, correcting its “pre-bankruptcy mistake”.

Five-door Cruze on the agenda for Chevrolet after previously snubbing Aussie hatch

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Chevrolet logo23 Jun 2015

By RON HAMMERTON

FORMER Holden chairman and managing director Mark Reuss will finally get his way, launching the Cruze hatch alongside the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze sedan for North America.

Now General Motors North America president and global product chief, Mr Reuss was head of the Australian subsidiary in 2008-2009 when GM’s design team in Melbourne penned the five-door hatch version of the current-generation Cruze.

He announced the hatch project to Australian journalists at the 2009 Detroit motor show, just months before he was suddenly recalled to Detroit to join the team tasked with saving GM in the global financial crisis and to take control of the company’s product planning.

The Cruze hatch was shown at the 2010 Paris motor show and launched in 2011, going on to be sold in a number of markets, including South Korea, Europe and China, as well as Australia.

But it missed the cut for the huge American market – a decision that Mr Reuss subsequently called a “pre-bankruptcy planning mistake”.

Now, Chevrolet dealers in North America reportedly have been shown a hatchback version of the new-generation Cruze that is about to be launched in that market in four-door sedan form.

Automotive News reports that the hatch was sprung at a national Chevrolet dealer meeting in Las Vegas last week, just days ahead of the Cruze sedan’s media launch tomorrow.

The decision to finally add the hatch comes as Americans wake up to small hatchbacks, with growing sales of compact five-door cars in a market that traditionally has favoured sedans.

According to Automotive News, 40 per cent of Ford Focus sales in the United States are now hatches. As well, Honda has decided to reintroduce the Civic hatchback.

It is unclear when the Cruze hatch will arrive in showrooms in the US, but it reportedly has been billed as a 2016 model.

The new Cruze is built on GM’s new D2XX platform that underpins the latest Opel Astra.

Holden is yet to say which car will replace the existing Cruze when the current model goes out of Australian production in 2017, but most pundits suspect the Astra is the front-runner under Holden’s push for more European cars.

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