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Spy Shot: Chevrolet Orlando Caught Canada Bound — and U.S. May Follow

Our spies catch CUV testing North of the Border.

by on Feb.15, 2013

The updated Chevrolet Orlando caught during winter testing. Photo Credit: Jim Dunne, AutoSpy

North of the border, in Canada, they do things differently. Canadian drivers tend to prefer slightly models than American motorists and over the years we’ve seen a growing number of products land in Canada’s fleets that don’t make it here to the States.

Even for Chevrolet, the Canadian vehicle lineup is different than that offered customers in the U.S. This future Chevrolet Orlando is a perfect example. A seven-passenger vehicle – three rows of seats – despite being about the same length of Chevy’s compact Cruz, Orlando has no counterpart in Chevy’s U.S. lineup.

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If the name sounds familiar, that’s because Chevy came an inch away from introducing the crossover here in the United States.  But it was pulled in May 2010, General Motors’ president of North American operations Mark Reuss deciding it just didn’t have the right dimensions and overall fit for the line-up.


GM’s Reuss Puts New Products Through the “Knothole”

“Good enough” isn’t good enough anymore.

by on Jan.31, 2011

GM President Mark Reuss: squeezing new products through a knothole to banish mediocrity.

“Good enough” isn’t good enough if General Motors hopes to win back sales and market share, says Mark Reuss, president of the maker’s core North American operations.

So, he says, every new car, truck or crossover will have to pass through a rigid evaluation procedure Reuss has created dubbed the “Knothole Process” — even if that means some models will wind up being yanked from the line-up.

“We’re not going to put cars into our portfolio if they are just competitive,” said the long-time engineer, during an exclusive interview with  Why, he asks, would a loyal Toyota or Honda customer even consider a GM vehicle if the U.S. maker can’t offer something significantly better?

The Knothole Process has already resulted in a number of GM products being delayed or killed off entirely, Reuss revealed.  It was the primary reason why the launch of the U.S. version of the Chevrolet Cruze was delayed – though GM’s bankruptcy also was a factor, said Reuss – and led to the maker deciding not to sell the Chevy Orlando crossover in the North American market.

In its original form, said Reuss, Cruze “wasn’t something anybody would be proud of.”

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At least two other products have been scrubbed because they failed to pass muster, Reuss hinted, declining to name the models.  Others have also been delayed.

The Knothole Process was inspired by former GM “car czar” Bob Lutz, who spent his decade with the giant maker struggling to refocus its product development operations.  One of the steps Lutz took was to bring in a handful of former automotive journalists, such as one-time Motor Trend Editor Jack Keebler, to give the company a less biased view of how General Motors products compare to key competitors.


Chevy Aiming To Top 1 Million In Europe

An American in Paris?

by on Oct.06, 2010

The Chevrolet Orlando is one of four new models the brand is launching at the Paris Motor Show.

It takes a bit of an effort to find for potential French buyers to find the Orlando crossover, one of four  new models wearing the Chevrolet badge debuting at this year’s Paris Motor Show.  Orlando and the rest are hidden in Hall 5, a good walk from the main pavilion where more mainstream brands, notably including the French domestics, Renault, Peugeot and Citroen, are on display.

Nonetheless, there’s been a steady stream of show-goers making the trek, underscoring Chevy’s surprising performance since it launched as a serious brand in the European market less than a decade ago.

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And it is encouraging the General Motors division to set its sights high.  By mid-decade, say company officials, they hope to more than double volume to over 1 million annually in Europe.

“Paris 2010 is a once-in-a-lifetime show for Chevrolet with four world premieres,” said Wayne Brannon, President and Managing Director of Chevrolet Europe, as the maker quickly rolled out the Orlando, Aveo, Captiva and Cruze hatchback during its brief, 15-minute press preview.


Can Chevy Build the Momentum?

Sneak peek at major fleet remake due over next two years.

by on Dec.17, 2009

The Chevrolet Orlando, shown here in concept form, is deceptive. Despite its small footprint it will offer three-row seating for up to seven.

The Chevrolet Orlando, shown here in concept form, is deceptive. Despite its small footprint it will offer three-row seating for up to seven.

At first glance, the challenge seems daunting.  Going into bankruptcy court, earlier this year, General Motors ran eight unique North American brands.  Today it has just four, yet it’s hoping to maintain most of its sales and market share and even build momentum in the coming years.

To accomplish that feat, the long-troubled automaker is counting on its Chevrolet brand to do the heavy lifting.  “Chevy will account for over 70% of GM sales” in North America, said the marque’s new general manager, Jim Campbell.”

Pulling that off won’t be easy.  As senior company officials, all the way up to Acting CEO Ed Whitacre admit, there’s a sizable share of U.S. buyers who are not just indifferent but in many cases downright hostile to General Motors.

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“I’m worried about what people think of us and how to get them to trust us,” acknowledged Mark Reuss, the newly-appointed president of GM’s North American operations.