Detroit Kills Chevy Orlando but Game On in Oshawa?

Staff - CAP staff
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How often do we hear that a new car won't be available in the US, yet Canadians get the nod? Such is reality with respect to Chevy's upcoming Orlando, a compact crossover-style MPV that the brand has been promoting for more than a year.

Orlando, based on the new 2011 Cruze compact, was expected by many to be the new HHR replacement, in size and segment placing rather than styling. The HHR, stylish in a retrospective sort of way if not particularly roomy inside, was behind the curve when Chevy launched it in 2005, having missed the big retro play Chrysler helped to initiate with the introduction of its PT Cruiser.

According to Automotive News, the Detroit automaker won't be selling its new Orlando crossover on home soil, but rather it will be sold in Europe, Asia, and yes, Canada. A compact crossover that seats up to seven makes a lot of sense here in Canada where money has to be stretched further than almost anywhere else in the Western world due to a high cost of living, exorbitant taxes and, as part of the last issue, extremely high fuel prices, but in the US where the standard of living is higher on average, such a small and efficient family hauler might not fare as well. At least, this is the mindset behind GM's US division.

Automotive News says that GM's US division has decided to focus their resources on models already in existence, citing Chevrolet's product marketing director for small cars and crossovers, Margaret Brooks.  According to Brooks, Chevrolet's current lineup can already take care of any family's needs, and for all points and purposes she's correct. 

GM's smallest crossover is the Equinox, and while not as compact as some of its competitor's crossovers it enjoys good fuel economy in four-cylinder guise, while the Traverse is ideal for larger families that need up to eight seats.  Chevrolet also has a truck-based SUV lineup and, for extremely large families, its full-size Express van is hard to beat. 

If and when an official announcement about the Orlando getting axed from the future US lineup becomes fact, don't think that GM Canada will merely follow suit. North of the 49th the smaller more fuel-efficient Orlando will likely be a big seller, being that the Equinox is closer to midsize and Traverse in actuality a full-size crossover.  GM Canada has a history of targeting our market directly, with cars like the Pontiac (RIP) G3 Wave and G4 sedan, based on the Aveo and Cobalt respectively, and designed to add a little excitement to Pontiac dealers' bottom lines, while the old Daewoo-sourced compact Chevrolet Optra sedan, Optra5 hatchback and Optra Wagon, plus the midsize Epica showed it was willing to go it alone in order to grow market share. 

While nothing has been made official regarding the death of the Orlando in the US, the little crossover with an oh-so-American name will be a welcomed alternative.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Crossover, Chevrolet, Orlando, Compact,

Geographic location: Orlando, Detroit, Oshawa

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