First Drive: 2004 Chevrolet Aveo, Optra, Epica – Autos.ca

19 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on First Drive: 2004 Chevrolet Aveo, Optra, Epica – Autos.ca

Chevrolet Aveo

October 1, 2003

2004 Chevrolet Aveo. Click image to enlarge

Story and photos by Greg Wilson

Vancouver, British Columbia #8211; In the last few years, South Korean automakers Kia and Hyundai have gobbled up a large portion of Canada#8217;s entry-level car market, and are now moving into minivan, SUV and luxury car categories with competitive models at lower prices.

This hasn#8217;t gone unnoticed by the major American and Japanese auto manufacturers. The entry-level market in particular, is where automakers capture those important first-time buyers, who, if they#8217;re satisfied with their car, may go on to purchase another vehicle from the same manufacturer. A lifetime of brand loyalty can start with that first car.

Though it#8217;s Canada#8217;s largest automobile company, General Motors is sadly lacking in the entry-level category. The aging Cavalier and Sunfire have been freshened and incentivized, and they#8217;re still very popular, but how long can this go on? The subcompact Metro and Firefly disappeared in the 2000 model year.

The Saturn Ion is still a bit of a niche player.

Chevrolet Aveo

GM#8217;s solution was to buy a controlling interest in the assets of Korean automaker, Daewoo #8211; now renamed GM Daewoo Auto and Technology Company (GMDAT) #8211; and build lower-priced cars in Korea for the world market. The first three cars from this new venture are sold under different names, depending on where you are. In Canada, they#8217;re badged as Chevrolets #8211; the Aveo, Optra and Epica.

As well, the Aveo will be offered as the Suzuki Swift+, and the Epica will be sold as the Suzuki Verona. In the United States, Chevrolet will get the Aveo, but not the Optra and Epica. However, the Optra and Epica will be sold in the U.S. as the Suzuki Firenza and Suzuki Verona.

In the rest of the world, the three cars will be known as the Daewoo Kalos, Lacetti, and Magnus.

2004 Chevrolet Optra. Click image to enlarge

A bit confused? Who could blame you? It#8217;s going to be un uphill battle for GM to create consumer awareness about these cars.

On the bright side, GM now has three viable competitors for the low-priced Kias and Hyundais #8211; and a large network of 450 Chevrolet dealers to service them.

There#8217;s another aspect to the Daewoo saga that should be mentioned. After General Motors Daewoo Auto and Technology Company was formed in 2002, the old Daewoo company, its network of North American dealerships, and their customers were left out in the cold.

GMDAT has no association with previous Daewoo dealers, and does not sell or support the older Daewoo models, the Lanos, Nubira and Leganza #8211; even though technically the Aveo is the next generation Lanos and the Epica is a freshened version of the Leganza. This must really piss off previous Daewoo owners, but nobody seems to care about them.

Chevrolet Aveo
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