During a media trip to visit the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China, with local Chevrolet distributor The Covenant Car Company, Inc. (TCCCI), Top Gear was able to test-drive the new Chevrolet Sail. A budget alternative to the subcompact sedan segment (it slots between the Spark and the Aveo in terms of dimensions), the Sail was conceptualized and produced via a collaboration between Shanghai GM and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center, which are both GM-SAIC (General Motors-Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation) ventures. While primarily developed with China’s local driving conditions and fuel quality in mind, this new model had been meant for global distribution from the onset.
The sedan variants were first released in China in January of this year, with the hatchback version following just last month. Initially, only a five-speed manual transmission was offered with both the 1.2- and 1.4-liter engine options, but the entry of the hatchback also came with a five-speed EMT or electronic manual transmission for both powerplants. This gearbox, apart from combining the best of both automatic and manual transmissions--convenience and fuel economy--is also cheaper to maintain than a regular automatic.
TCCCI is currently considering if the Chevrolet Sail can snag a share in the Philippine car market. A base-spec 1.2-liter manual variant may be offered to meet the demand for affordable but easy-to-maintain fleet cars, while 1.4-liter variants packing more convenience and comfort features will be aimed at individual buyers. Because sedan sales rank considerably higher than hatchback sales in the local market, TCCCI is looking into bringing more four-door units should the Sail’s entry to Philippine shores be green-lighted.
Below are the specs and features of the 1.4-liter Sail variant. How much do you think should this be priced for it to be competitive with the other cars in its segment?
MAKE AND MODEL: Chevrolet Sail
VEHICLE TYPE: Subcompact sedan
ASSEMBLER'S PITCH: "Our mission has always been to enable more individuals and families to realize their dream of owning a car. With the New Sail, we are setting a new standard for the lower-end small car segment while fully living up to the global standards of Chevrolet, one of the world's leading vehicle brands. The fact that the New Sail will be exported is a testament to the capabilities of our product development organization in China." (Kevin Wale, president and managing director of the GM China Group)
ENGINE DATA: 1.4-liter four-cylinder 16-valve DOHC engine; 102hp and 131Nm of torque; electronic manual transmission (EMT) or 5-speed manual transmission
BASIC SPECS AND FEATURES:
Exterior dimensions - 4,249mm (length), 1,690mm (width) and 1,505mm (height)
Wheelbase – 2,465mm
Dual front airbags
Energy-absorbing steering column
Antilock braking system
Electronic brake-force distribution
Child safety locks
60:40-split rear seat
Audio system with auxiliary input
24 interior storage compartments