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Thread: Chevrolet Cruze (HR) 2001-2008

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    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Chevrolet Cruze (HR) 2001-2008

    Revealed as the Chevrolet YGM1 concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1999, the Chevrolet Cruze derived from the Suzuki Ignis. The development of the Cruze departed from the original five-door hatchback Suzuki as a sport utility vehicle (SUV). Despite the Chevrolet branding, the YGM1, like the production car, was the work of GM's Australian arm, Holden. The YGM1 design team were given just 12 weeks to conceive the concept, styled by Peter Hughes under the direction of Holden's then chief designer, Michael Simcoe. The revamped interior was done under the direction of Jenny Morgan-Douralis, Holden's chief colour and trim designer at the time. Along with the styling, Holden also executed most of the engineering work and were responsible for devising the "Cruze" nameplate.

    GM revealed the production Cruze on October 22, 2001 with a November 1 sales commencement date in Japan. Significantly, the Cruze marked GM's return to Japanese manufacturing for the first time since 1939, with production located at Suzuki's plant in Kosai, Shizuoka. In terms of design, the production version differs slightly from the YGM1: the flared fenders were toned down, and in lieu of the concept's 17-inch alloy wheels, 15-inch wheels were fitted. High-mounted wrap-around tail lights are featured at the rear, with dual circular brake lights set into the bumper—as carried over from the concept.

    Powertrains are identical to those fitted to the Suzuki, with 1.3- and 1.5-litre inline-four engines offered and coupled to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. The M13A-equipped models were given the model code HR51S, with the M15A versions designated HR81S. The 1.3-litre was rated at 65 kilowatts (88 PS; 87 hp) and 118 newton metres (87 lbf·ft), while the 1.5-litre delivered 81 kilowatts (110 PS; 109 hp) and 143 newton metres (105 lbf·ft). Both front- (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) layouts were offered, the all-wheel system being an electronically controlled setup. This system utilises an electromagnetic controlling device that receives signals from the anti-lock braking system. Both the 1.3 and 1.5 models could be specified with either FWD or AWD.

    To maximise sales penetration, Japanese-market Cruzes were sold at both GM AutoWorld and Suzuki Arena sales channels. AutoWorld dealerships stocked the 1.5-litre car in LS and LT trims, with the 1.3 confined to Suzuki’s Arena, available in E and X trims. The vehicle was also in compliance with Japanese government dimension regulations to capitalize on the associated tax benefits to further encourage sales.

    After a delay triggered by unfavourable exchange rates from Japan, Holden introduced the Cruze to the Australian market on July 1, 2002. New door trims were fitted and the rear window wiper was made standard from January 2004 production. Holden discontinued the Cruze after January 2006. The Chevrolet version in Japan continued on until 2008.

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