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Chrysler Considering Chinese Partner for Subcompact

April 2006
US Subcompact Sales
ModelUnitsΔ 2005
Toyota Yaris 6,393 New
Chevy Aveo 4,745 -18%
Honda Fit 3,792 New
Scion xA 3,331 +25%
Mini 3,313 -23%

Autoweek reports that the Chrysler group is considering hiring China’s Chery Automobile Co. to assemble a B-segment car (subcompact) for sale in international markets. Chrysler would sell the car under the Dodge or Chrysler brand, according to a variety of unnamed sources.

Eric Ridenour, COO of the Chrysler group, had earlier told Automotive News that Chrysler is talking with as many as three automakers about assembling a small car for the US—one of them being Volkswagen. Chrysler declined to confirm the Chery rumor, and has in the past stated that it would not import cars from China into the US.

At the Geneva auto show in March, Dodge showed a subcompact concept car called the Hornet (earlier post), which could be sold in North America, Europe and other markets. The B-segment Hornet is smaller than the 2007 Dodge Caliber, the brand’s smallest vehicle.

The sub-compact segment is revving up in the US, given rising fuel and oil prices. Toyota’s new Yaris made its sales debut last month and posted 6,393 units; the Scion xA (also produced by Toyota) saw its sales climb 25% from April 2005 to 3,331 for April 2006. The new Honda Fit, in its second month of sales, posted 3,792 units.

The Chevrolet Aveo, which, until the arrival of the Yaris was the best-selling sub-compact, saw its sales drop 18% in April to 4,745 units. The Aveo is built by GM Daewoo, a South Korean subsidiary of General Motors.


Lou Grinzo

The Fit is now in its second month--it didn't hit the US market until 4/20, and it still sold nearly 3,800 units.


how is it that the aveo, the cheapest sub-compact by a margin of roughly 30%, which has the same features, same displacement engine, same power, same performance, is a total dog on the market?

i've driven a jazz/fit, an aveo, an xA, and an xB. i would buy the xB without a second thought, if i were in the market. if i never see an aveo again, much the better.

my opinion: GM still thinks about them as economy cars {like generic brand toothpaste or rainier beer}, while, to the japanese, they are small cars {like cell phones, laptops, mp3 players}.

in europe, where GM fails nearly as badly as it does here, the general trend in styling is that the smaller the car is, the more extroverted its styling is. peugeot is a good example of this with their 206 with flashy style vs their 607 that nobody can quite remember what it looks like.

maybe GM thought americans were different, but we're not. we like our small cars to stand out, to have emotional presence to make up for their lack of physical presence. they should have realized that from the example of the 1st gen echo and mini.

maybe they'll get it right next time.

naturally ford and chrysler have no better records w/ small cars, but everyone likes to pick on #1.

Joseph Willemssen

if i never see an aveo again, much the better.

Do you remember the "Big/Little" commercial for that thing? Four tall basketball players walk up and get into the thing, then they show baby versions of them from the inside.


Notice how they don't actually show them sitting in the thing at their actual size?

Headroom, front (in.)
xB - 46.1
Fit - 40.6
Aveo - 39.2

Headroom, rear (in.)
xB - 45.7
Fit - 38.6
Aveo - 37.6

Legroom, front (in.)
xB - 45.3
Fit - 41.9
Aveo - 41.2

Legroom, rear (in.)
xB - 38.0
Aveo - 35.3
Fit - 33.7

Trunk volume (cu ft)
Fit - 21.3
xB - 21.2
Aveo - 11.6

EPA Combined (MPG)
Fit - 33 to 35
xB - 31
Aveo - 28 to 29

tom deplume

Perhaps if GM bothered to advertise to Aveo more people would buy them. We pulled up behind an Aveo and my wife was surprised that Chevy sold a small car.

gerald earl

My mother loves hers so I think they have cornered the granny market.

David Windsor

"how is it that the aveo.. is a total dog on the market?"

It is in its last months of production for the current model. The new version comes out this summer. I sat in the 2007 Aveo at the NY Auto Show (black/tan interior) and was suprised that it had one of the best interiors of any of the subcompacts at the show. The problem with this car is the powertrain, only 24 mpg city, which sadly carries over to the new model.

John Lasseter

GM just does't get it. I love my xA & it's 30 - 34 mpg's around town. It also has some style. Maybe if GM tried to do some style stamping into the sheet metal. The Aveo looks like an afterthought.... oh yea.... we'll sell this to those idiots who don't want an SUV... :)

John Ard

Being a Chrysler guy I love a good GM or Ford bashing, but I must say that Chrysler has never been serious about anything really worthwhile in the last forever. Good examples would be the Pronto Cruiser, the Prowler, and the new Charger. None of these vehicles even remotely come close to their original concept glory. I very much doubt that the Hornet will be much more than any other American economy car--high on econmy, low on car. Just like my Neon.

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