Chevrolet surely had one rollercoaster stint in India. From a slew of launches, relaunches, acquisitions and rebranding to a final exit from the Indian markets, Chevrolet saw a lot.
However, there’s no denying the fact that Chevrolet did give their best when it came to India. The marketing strategies seemed to be spot on, but when it came to the actual product, consumer satisfaction seemed rare.
There were some cars which carried a lot of expectations for the Chevrolet brand in India. Two such cars were, Aveo & its hatchback sibling the Aveo U-VA.
So, what made the companies bet their big bucks on these vehicles? And why did the Indian consumers didn’t feel like going for them? Let’s find out.
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Chevrolet Aveo: Big Expectations, Small Results.
The Aveo was launched in 2006, back when the Chevrolet line-up included the Optra and Tavera. While the Optra sat comfortably in the D-segment, the Tavera was looking forward to ace the Multi-utility vehicles game.
The Chevrolet Aveo entered as an entry-level C-segment car. The company seemed optimistic about the car and it’s future and hence eyed a total sales of 50,000 vehicles in the Indian markets.
The Chevrolet Aveo was launched in 2006, keeping in mind the Indian consumer’s preferences- an efficient engine and spacious interiors.
The car boasted of a 1399cc 4 cylinder engine generating 94 bhp and churning out 127 Nm of torque mated with a manual transmission.
Chevrolet Aveo came equipped with all the bits and pieces that would entice the Indian consumer. Power steering, power windows, fog lamps and much more.
Chevrolet Aveo U-VA: The Hatchback Sibling
While Chevrolet was launching the Aveo, it notified about a hatchback version of the car that’d be entering the Indian markets quite soon. GM India’s MD and President Rajeev Chaba at that time termed it as “largest expansion of GM India’s vehicle line-up in the company’s history”.
Around 8 months later, came the Aveo U-Va. The Aveo U-Va was expected to compete with Maruti Swift and Hyundai Getz. The car was fairly priced starting at ₹3.99 lakhs, making it a tough competitor in the entry-level hatch segment.
The Aveo U-Va came with a 1,150 cc 1.2-litre engine generating 76 bhp and generated 110 Nm of torque. The car came with a decent mileage of 15.26 kmpl
On the inside, the interiors of the car seemed comfortable enough for the price being paid. With all the basics of an entry-level car, such as air conditioner, power steering and a 220-litre boot capacity.
Pair it with a 45-litre fuel tank and the car was good to go. But was it?
The Road Ahead: What The Cars Had To Face?
While a slew of launches in a 6-8 month time period of 2008, Chevrolet had increased its stake in the Indian markets.
The Optra SRV, Aveo and the Aveo U-Va were launched somewhat in the same time period. Chevrolet had witnessed an 18 per cent increase in its sales in 2005 and expected to replicate that with these vehicles.
- Come the year 2012, Chevrolet decided to pull the plug on the existing models of the Aveo and U-Va. What came in its place was a car that India actually never asked for.
- Utilising its a partnership with Chinese conglomerate SAIC, Chevrolet decided to launch the Sail version of the Aveo and the Aveo U-Va.
- However, things didn’t turn out the way Chevrolet wanted to. The functional approach taken by Chevrolet didn’t make the Indian public content enough.
Minimal interiors and plainer than ever exteriors didn’t sit well with the target consumers. The result? Both the cars bombed in the Indian markets, making Chevrolet more miserable than ever.
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Chevrolet Aveo & Aveo U-Va: Reasons Behind The Failure
There has been a case-study worth of research and speculation over Chevrolet’s India exit. However, when it comes to these two specific cars, there is a lot to figure out.
Both these cars were a big part of Chevrolet’s India story, but the sales didn’t take off, the way General Motors would’ve wanted. Here are some of the reasons that we figured out behind the cars’ debacle.
- The Aveo was an entry-level C segment sedan from Chevrolet. What did it mean? Well, out of many things, it meant competing with the likes of the Hyundai Accent and the Honda City.
- While Hyundai had already won the hearts and minds of the Indian consumers through the Santro, Honda’s reliability was something to boast about. Chevrolet had a tough job in hand to enter the market with the Aveo and showcase the car as a better option than the Accent and the Honda City.
- The Aveo U-Va on the other hand was a hatch. The Aveo U-Va had to compete with Maruti’s Swift. Again, a competition they were surely hoping to avoid. With Maruti’s Swift sweeping the market share like anything, Maruti’s large dealership network, and the large service network meant a grave future for the Aveo U-Va.
- The engine and the gearbox of the Aveo was another culprit behind its debacle. Yes, the ride quality was unmatched, suspensions were amazing, but the engine lacked the required pep.
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Conclusion | Chevrolet Aveo & Aveo U-Va
Chevrolet will always be considered a disaster that could’ve been avoided. The Chevrolet Aveo and the Aveo U-Va were two good cars, under a brand name which got infamous for a variety of reasons.
Was this a debacle that could’ve been avoided? That’s a question all the car enthusiasts need an answer for.