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Old 04-02-2007, 02:24 PM   #1
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GM Mulls Mini Cars

GM Mulls Mini Cars
The Daily Auto Insider
Monday, April 2, 2007

April 2007 1 of 1

General Motors is taking a serious look at bringing low-cost 50-mile-per-gallon mini cars to the U.S. market, The Associated Press reported, citing GM's top global product planner.

However, GM Group Vice President John Smith said the automaker is still in the very early stages of investigating the U.S. market potential for vehicles that are significantly smaller than current sub-compact cars.

Meanwhile, GM will show three different models of mini cars at the New York auto show that are based on the tiny Chevrolet Matiz and Spark that are sold in several markets, including Europe and Asia, the story said.

In coming months, GM will collect research data to gauge consumer interest through an online voting campaign at www.vote4chevrolet.com.

There currently is not a mini car sold in the U.S., but DaimlerChrysler will launch its Smart micro-car brand here next year, the story said.

Whether GM's interest will come to anything is unclear. "The honest answer is, I don't know yet how serious we are," Smith said, referring to the mini car segment.
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Old 04-04-2007, 01:50 AM   #2
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For inner city commutes with heavy traffic, sounds like a good idea. I wouldn't want to get on the hwy in one of those. I'd feel very vulnerable. When there's less sheet metal between you and the end/side of the car, there's less to crunch before you get the ... cruch.
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Old 04-04-2007, 02:31 PM   #3
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For inner city commutes with heavy traffic, sounds like a good idea. I wouldn't want to get on the hwy in one of those. I'd feel very vulnerable. When there's less sheet metal between you and the end/side of the car, there's less to crunch before you get the ... cruch.
i actually recently saw a video of one of those Smart Cars hitting a concrete baracade at 70mph. I was amazed at how well it held up. Honestly, it looked like it held up better than a lot of other cars would....

http://youtube.com/watch?v=ju6t-yyoU8s

http://youtube.com/watch?v=ju6t-yyoU8s
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Old 04-04-2007, 02:35 PM   #4
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i actually recently saw a video of one of those Smart Cars hitting a concrete baracade at 70mph. I was amazed at how well it held up. Honestly, it looked like it held up better than a lot of other cars would....

http://youtube.com/watch?v=ju6t-yyoU8s

http://youtube.com/watch?v=ju6t-yyoU8s
Yeah, but you would still be dead... Saw the same clip your talking about...
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Old 04-04-2007, 02:36 PM   #5
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Yeah, but you would still be dead... Saw the same clip your talking about...
Yeah you would be dead... you would be dead in just about any car if you go from 70 mph to zero instantly.
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Old 04-04-2007, 02:38 PM   #6
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Yeah you would be dead... you would be dead in just about any car if you go from 70 mph to zero instantly.
Yep, your right on that...
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Old 04-04-2007, 03:01 PM   #7
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2007 New York Auto Show: Chevrolet searching for minicar cool with Trax, Groove, and Beat Concepts
A trio of minicar concepts from GM

Chevrolet has chosen to use the New York Auto Show to show off three new concepts as well as gauge the market for the microcar segment in the U.S. Dubbed Trax, Beat, and Groove, the three concepts all take different approaches to what a minicar can be. All three were developed in GM's South Korean design studio and aim to appeal to younger buyers.

The Trax (who's cover was blown earlier this week ) is a four-door, front-wheel drive micro-SUV with an electric limited slip differential that features a battery and electric motor to drive the rear wheels in the event they are needed for traction, resulting in a low-cost all-wheel drive vehicle.

The exterior is painted a vibrant Blaze Orange with Burnt Orange accents (and Flame Yellow brake calipers), but despite its fun appearance the Trax builds in practicality with fold-flat rear seats, a functional roof rack, and an efficient 1-liter gasoline engine.

Featuring equally attention-getting Vertigo Green paint that extends to its dashboard and brake calipers, the Chevrolet Beat is a three-door micro-hatchback. A 1.2-liter turbocharged engine and automatic transmission deliver power to the Beat's front 17-inch wheels.

Designed with tuners and customizers in mind, the Beat features stylized rocker panels, headlamps, wheels, and fascias with a high-performance theme to appeal to this market. The headliner of the Beat is fitted with fiber-optic lights that produce a star pattern and a navigation unit is hidden in the center console. An Alpine six-speaker stereo is also included along with a subwoofer mounted in the trunk.

The Groove was inspired not by the tuner market but by a military helmet. Perhaps an unorthodox inspiration for a car design, but the intention was for the Groove to feel safe simply looking at the vehicle.

The idea behind the Groove was to make a departure from small cars that are labeled as "cute" and to develop a small car with a tough stance. The Groove's 17-inch rear wheels were placed as far aft in the chassis as possible to create the perception of great length, while the long, flat cabin provides more interior space that would be expected of such a small vehicle. The front-wheel drive Groove is powered by a 1.0-liter diesel unit and features a Lunar Quartz exterior with contrasting satin silver chrome details.

All three vehicles are on display at the New York Auto Show this week and by going to www.vote4chevrolet.com, you can vote for your favorite. Chevrolet will use the results to determine what kind of market there might be for the development of a microcar for U.S. consumption.
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Old 04-04-2007, 03:02 PM   #8
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Old 04-04-2007, 03:06 PM   #9
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Hummm.... I like the front of the green one and the body of the orange one. If these things seriously get 50 mpg, I will definitely be picking one up as a commuter car. I am pretty sure I could also haul it in the bed of my pickup truck...
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Old 04-04-2007, 03:26 PM   #10
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Had the Fox News Channel on just now and Neil Cavuto had Bob Lutz on talking about domestic cars in general and they showed a clip of the Green Mini Car driving around... I have to say that i really do like it!...


On a separate, but somewhat related topic regarding this segment see the thread .... Toyota vs GM
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Old 04-04-2007, 04:44 PM   #11
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imo i think the designer of these cars should be shot and i do NOT think gm should make these cars
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Old 04-04-2007, 08:18 PM   #12
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Not bad little cars. Like I said, for inner city driving and short trips, I'd pick one up..no doubt.

Put it in the bed of the pickup truck....that's funny...
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Old 04-05-2007, 12:52 PM   #13
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i could see the green one taking off and selling here in the states. i live near philadelphia and the highways around here just flat out suck. there would be no way that i would be driving my new camaro to work everyday on I 95 and in the city. i might have to pick one of these up too as a daily driver.
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Old 04-05-2007, 03:22 PM   #14
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What are the demension of these mini cars?
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Old 04-05-2007, 07:13 PM   #15
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This video gives you an idea on the size...

http://www.roadandtrack.com/article....rticle_id=5114
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Old 04-05-2007, 08:04 PM   #16
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I think the green one is growing on me...

...probably has something to do with that little 5 door sport wagon sitting in my driveway.
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Old 04-07-2007, 10:26 AM   #17
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The Beat is a three-door hatchback powered by turbocharged gasonline engine. The Groove, a front-wheel driver with a 1-liter diesel engine, and aims for a more "classic" Chevy look.
Trax will be GM's "micro-SUV," and carries with it a all-wheel-drive system and 1-liter gas engine.
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Old 04-07-2007, 11:07 AM   #18
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ghh....I think I'm gonna puke:eek: .......Too Late

I guess the world needs to turn, and GM along with it- but come on, really? Little micro-cars? I mean, my god, I'm all for gas mileage, but They look like little McDonalds Toys...
I'd be more afraid to drive beside it than a motorcycle, for fear of breaking it


I'll drive my "natural" - looking cars until the Volt comes out, then I'll pick one of those up.

Ok...(sigh) I'm done. I feel more calm now.:p
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Old 04-07-2007, 12:08 PM   #19
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I'm all for it. There are MANY markets out there ready for the taking. If you can builld the best for each market and actually advertise selling those best vehicles in those markets, my friend you'd be golden. I'm all for GM getting into this market. Only a couple other dealers are getting into it...scion box looking thing, etc. GM could really bank on this, I'd think.
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Old 04-07-2007, 05:35 PM   #20
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i agree with you tag. money is money no matter how u make it. and your right gm needs to break into these markets in the US because the sprint cars are exclusive to toyota for the most part. personally i feel that they would sell a good number of these cars because people are getting fed up with these gas problems. but these mini cars are only a short term answer to a growing problem of what we will face very soon in the future.
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Old 04-07-2007, 09:24 PM   #21
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i agree with you tag. money is money no matter how u make it. and your right gm needs to break into these markets in the US because the sprint cars are exclusive to toyota for the most part. personally i feel that they would sell a good number of these cars because people are getting fed up with these gas problems. but these mini cars are only a short term answer to a growing problem of what we will face very soon in the future.
Interesting sentiment... to what growing problem are you referring?

Is the growing problem:
(A) Global Warming?
(B) Traffic?
(C) Free Space?

I am just curious...

~LSx
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Old 04-08-2007, 12:01 AM   #22
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A: Trouble finding anything other than "compact" vehicle parking!
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Old 04-08-2007, 11:11 AM   #23
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LSx mostly i am refering to gas prices, the declining amounts of oil fields, and global warming. what i was getting at is that oil can't be the answer for our fuel forever. but these high mpg cars are better than nothing being done at all. BUT at the same time i want my camaro already. from what i hear they are doing everything they can to get good mpg out of the thing.
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Old 04-08-2007, 10:14 PM   #24
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Absolutely, Don't get me wrong, I think GM should get involved with this 100%
It would be one of the few smart things they've done lately (except the Camaro and brand differentiation)
I could see this becoming a new axis on which to beat Toyota back to the Jungles from which they came.

But just me, personally....I don't like them. Or at least not the current Chinese ones ...(shudder). If GM does a good job with this. I can see this as a foothold for them. And an end to the american ideology that we're always right no matter what:

i.e. Huge SUV's in the middle of a gas crunch (yeah, smart..... )

I say Go for it General!! - as Moosen75 pointed out though - this can only be a temporary solution. Don't give up on the Volt!!!!!!!



Oh and regards to the Camaro...I hope in light of everything else they give it ethanol capability...I don't want to change out an engine in 20 years....
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Old 04-09-2007, 08:49 AM   #25
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Absolutely, Don't get me wrong, I think GM should get involved with this 100%
It would be one of the few smart things they've done lately (except the Camaro and brand differentiation)
I could see this becoming a new axis on which to beat Toyota back to the Jungles from which they came.

But just me, personally....I don't like them. Or at least not the current Chinese ones ...(shudder). If GM does a good job with this. I can see this as a foothold for them. And an end to the american ideology that we're always right no matter what:

i.e. Huge SUV's in the middle of a gas crunch (yeah, smart..... )

I say Go for it General!! - as Moosen75 pointed out though - this can only be a temporary solution. Don't give up on the Volt!!!!!!!



Oh and regards to the Camaro...I hope in light of everything else they give it ethanol capability...I don't want to change out an engine in 20 years....



Aren't they trying ot make all of their engines these days E85 compatible? I thought that was part of their "Go Green" Initiative.

As for the mini-cars, I love the idea. I am not sure if I will buy one, but I can see how it would be VERY marketable in America. I mean, righ now there really isn't any other manufacturer that has tapped into the US market with these kinds of autos. Smart car has taken over Asia and Europe with their cars, and they are in the process of establishing a dealer network in America, but they are not there. If GM can get the ball rolling quick enough and beat them t the punch, it would be a major victory for us!. Not to mention, these cars look WAY better than the Smart cars!

I do agree that these kinds of cars can not be our end-all solution, and I don't think anyone expects them to be. I like the VOLT concept, but as I have stated before, depending on the area you live in and the power plant that generates your power, it can actually create more polution to charge your VOLT than a 30+mpg car creates. I think that there needs to be just as much focus on creating cleaner power as there is on creating cleaner automobiles.
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