Chevrolet at the Paris motor show 2008

Published: 02 October 2008

General Motors’ Chevrolet stand was buzzing at Paris with two world debuts – the Chevrolet Cruze production saloon and Chevrolet Orlando seven-seater show car – plus two important European production unveils: the electric Volt and Camaro muscle car.

Tell me more about the new Chevrolets

All Chevrolets from now on will be global models and reflect a new ambition for quality, as GM’s global vice president of design Ed Welburn told CAR. ‘Chevrolet is raising the bar where it matters the most – in the value segment.’

The Cruze is a Skoda Octavia-sized four-door on the new Astra platform with reasonable exterior styling and a genuinely high standard of interior fit and finish. Expect UK prices from April 2009 to be a highly competitive £11,000-15,000.

Even more striking and set to spawn a very similar production model to be shown at the 2009 Frankfurt show is the boxy compact MPV-alike Orlando. Although smaller than a Vauxhall Zafira, it still has seven theatre-style seats – where the seatback folds to become the load floor – making for a spacious and flexible interior. The chunky exterior styling is equally impressive although the Blue LED-accented flush door handles look unlikely to make it through into production.

What else is new on the Chevrolet stand?

The production version of the Chevrolet Volt range-extender electric vehicle was also on show, offering 40 miles on electric power alone, a few hundred more when the tiny petrol engine fires up to charge the battery, and a super-low 40g/km CO2 figure.

The Volt will launch in the US in 2010 and arrive in Europe in 2011-2012 – possibly with the same basic architecture repackaged in a slightly different shell and badged Opel or Vauxhall – for circa £20,000. At the other end of the spectrum, the European-spec Camaro muscled in. One thousand right-hand drive versions are slated for the UK by September 2010, with a target price of £30,000.

CAR’s verdict: Chevrolet at the Paris motor show 2008

Something of a product onslaught from Chevrolet – signalling the third biggest brand in the world’s intent to make everything it does global from now on. Its UK Daewoo roots are finally being cut.

CAR’s Chevrolet stand score: 3/5


Click here for up to the minute Paris motor show 2008 live reports

Click here for the previews and review: Guide to all cars

Paris motor show 2008


By Guy Bird

Contributor, cultural curator, design commentator