The imminent launch of the third generation Chevrolet Utility into the popular sub-1 ton market sector marks the completion of the first phase of a R1 billion investment programme aimed at modernising GM’s plant and facilities in the Eastern Cape to make them more efficient and globally quality compliant as integrated members of the General Motors international vehicle supply chain.
Evolved from the Corsa Utility that laid the foundations for what has become an icon in the sub-one ton pick-up market this latest generation Chevrolet Utility first broke cover in its native Brazil earlier this year where it is known as the Chevrolet Montana. There it immediately captured the imagination of buyers with record monthly sales, of almost 4 000 units, achieved from introduction.
In South Africa the current Chevrolet Utility has been the benchmark vehicle and segment sales leader for 78 consecutive months with a market share as high as 46% in 2011. Behind this sustained sales success is a formula that provides for a spacious, feature rich small pick-up that is ideal for business use and also attracts a large following amongst private and recreational users.
The first generation small pick-up, based on the Combo van from GM, arrived in South Africa in 1997 and very quickly defined a new market segment for modern technology three-quarter ton pick-ups. The second generation model followed in 2004, within a year of its international launch and once again established a new market trend.
Popularity of the Chevrolet Utility saw GMSA achieve a marketing milestone with the delivery of the 100 000th locally produced unit in May 2009. Since then local production has grown to over 162 000 units as South America and Sub-Saharan Africa sales head north of 500 000 units with South Africa accounting for some 30% of that total.
Whilst specifications are still subject to change in the run-up to the launch of the new Chevrolet Utility towards year end, buyers can expect a range of ten model variants with a choice of petrol or diesel powertrains. Base, Club and Sport specification levels will be offered together with each of three engine options with a factory fitted aircon option on the base specification model.
This latest generation Chevrolet Utility is a hugely significant model for General Motors South Africa as it moves towards its goal of the local production of a minimum of 50 000 vehicles per annum across three platforms at its Port Elizabeth manufacturing facilities. This goal is in line with meeting the requirements of the government’s Automotive Production Development Programme which comes into effect in 2013.