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November 29, 2006

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Chevrolet to Start Production in the European Union

  • Aveo small car production to begin in fall 2007

  • Two Chevrolet hatchback variants to follow

  • Plant in Warsaw, Poland, to supply European markets

  • Mid-term production could exceed 150,000 cars per year


Photo: Chevrolet

Starting in fall 2007, the Aveo, Chevrolet’s small four-door sedan, will be built at a production facility in Warsaw in Poland for sale throughout Europe. An all-new, three- and five-door hatchback variant will be assembled at the same location as of mid-2008.

The current Aveo (called Kalos in some markets) is Chevrolet’s best-selling model in Europe, with registrations totaling 78,500 in the first nine months of this year. Building the vehicle in Europe will allow Chevrolet to satisfy continuing high demand and shorten delivery times (currently from Asia) while reducing logistics costs as well as currency risks for the company. The move will also make it easier to allocate vehicles produced at GM’s Korean manufacturing facilities for sale in Asia and, for example, in the USA, where the Aveo is the number one car in its segment. The Chevrolet cars built in Poland will be sold throughout Europe.

 


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Michael A. Grimaldi, president and CEO of GM Daewoo, said: “Assembly in Europe will help ensure the continued growth of the Chevrolet brand in Europe, and give GM Daewoo much needed manufacturing flexibility to meet the strong global demand for our most popular vehicle.”

Wayne Brannon, executive director of Chevrolet Europe, said: “We need more Chevys to meet European demand. Wherever possible, it just makes sense to build where we sell.”

Chevrolet’s sales in Europe have grown fast in the past three years, from 190,000 in 2004 to what is expected to exceed more than 300,000 in 2006.

Production at the FSO facility will increase slowly from some 4,000 cars built in the latter part of 2007 to upwards of 60,000 in the first full year of production in 2008. Further increases to over 150,000 units per year are planned once all three model variants are in place. The initial phase of Chevrolet production will secure more than 1,000 jobs among the current FSO workforce.

The Warsaw plant in which the Aveo will be built is owned and managed by General Motors’ long-standing Ukrainian partner, UkrAvto. The company currently manufactures and distributes Chevrolet vehicles in Ukraine, where the brand has a market share of more than 8 percent. GM and UkrAvto will work together to ensure the highest standards of quality.

According to Eric Stevens, GM Europe’s vice president of manufacturing, “General Motors’ track record of producing world-class vehicles in Poland gives us the confidence to take this important next step. Our experience since 1998 at the Gliwice plant in southern Poland has been extremely positive. We are confident the workforce in Warsaw will deliver vehicles of the same world-class performance and quality.” GM’s Gliwice plant produces the Opel Zafira, Astra Classic and Agila.

Chevrolet has a long and proud production tradition in Poland. The first Chevrolet models were built in a plant in Warsaw’s Wolska Street as early as 1928 with a second plant starting production in the suburb of Wola in 1937. At that time, Polish workers were trained at General Motors International A/S in Copenhagen. Among the four-door Chevrolet models produced in Wola were the Master Sedan, Master De Luxe, Master Touring Sedan and Imperial Limousine.

(November 24, 2006)


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