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Paris show: GM reveals its small-car future

New Trixx: An all-new Opel micro-car for Europe could look like the 2004 Trixx concept.

Opel shows Astra Coupe’s interior and confirms sub-Corsa city-car on Paris show eve

Opel logo28 Sep 2010

By MARTON PETTENDY

GENERAL Motors revealed significant new pieces in its future small-car puzzle a week out from the Paris motor show by releasing the first interior images of its next-generation Chevrolet Aveo and Opel Astra Coupe, and announcing plans to produce an all-new Opel micro-car in 2013.

The redesigned Aveo previews the next-generation Barina that Holden will release in Australia in the third quarter of next year.

Both Opel models are a strong chance for release in Australia given that – as we reported exclusively two weeks ago – GM Holden is planning to launch Opel as a premium brand in Australia as early as next year.

52 center imageLeft: Opel GTC Paris concept.

Before then, Holden will launch Chevrolet’s sub-light Spark hatch in Australia as the ‘Barina Spark’ at the Sydney motor show on October 15.

A mildly updated MY2011 Barina is also expected to appear at the Sydney show and will carry Holden’s light-car candle before the all-new Barina arrives later in 2011.

The new interior designs of the Aveo/Barina and also GM/Holden’s facelifted Captiva were revealed in official GM videos last week, along with a range of fresh exterior, interior and action images of Opel’s GTC Paris concept.

As GoAuto has reported, Chevrolet will also show the Holden-designed Cruze hatchback – set to be built in Australia in the second half of 2011 – and another Aussie-influenced and Asia-Pacific-developed car in the Orlando MPV, which is on the radar but not a strong chance for sale here in the near future.

Meanwhile, the GTC concept previews the replacement for Opel’s classy AH Astra-based ‘coupe’, which would be a core model alongside the new Astra hatchback within any potential Opel range Down Under.

The GTC Paris concept is powered by a 213kW 2.0-litre turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine that drives the car’s front wheels through a limited-slip differential, while its German-engineered chassis benefits from a “new execution” of Opel’s ‘FlexRide’ adaptive suspension system.

Announcing the all-new micro-car for Europe – which could look like the Trixx hatch concept revealed by Opel at the 2004 Geneva motor show – GM Europe CEO Nick Reilly said production of the sub-Corsa Vauxhall/Opel city-car will commence in 2013 at Opel’s Eisenach plant in Germany.

“This is a further milestone in the growth strategy for our business,” said Mr Reilly.

“Our 90 million Euro investment in the Eisenach plant will significantly strengthen its role within our European manufacturing network, and will offer customers a brand new model with innovative technology and exciting design.”

The all-new Opel/Vauxhall is codenamed ‘Made in Eisenach’ and may also be sold under the Opel banner in Australia.

Mr Reilly described the new model, which GM has said could also eventually be launched in all-electric guise, as “a small-sized fuel-efficient car” that doesn’t “compromise on technology, design or convenience”.

Opel’s smallest current model, the Corsa, was itself released with new or upgraded engines early this month, when a revised version of the flagship Corsa OPC model was released with a reworked 141kW 1.6-litre turbo petrol four that returns 7.6 per cent lower fuel consumption.

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