General Motors Co. predicts that its sales in Japan will be boosted with the arrival of the Chevrolet Aveo, its first small-car entry in half a decade in the country. GM set an annual sales target of just a couple hundred units for the model.
However, its goal is to position the Aveo as a feeder model to attract young Japanese customers and to keep them coming back for more upmarket models, according to Sumito Ishii, managing director of GM Asia Pacific Japan.
The dealerships in Japan will receive the Aveo, which will be badged as the Sonic in the U.S., in the second-half of 2011. The Aveo's volume may be small but it is still expected to make an impact in this market where GM sells fewer than 2,000 vehicles a year.
The arrival of the Aveo marks the shift of GM’s focus from a niche collection of Cadillacs, Camaros and Corvettes, which comprise the core of its 40 Japan dealerships. However, GM doesn’t plan on making the Aveo go up against the Toyota Yaris or Honda Fit.
GM will offer only top-trim Aveo packages that have higher sticker prices. Spokesman George Hansen said that for a Japanese customer to buy a non-Japanese product, there has to be a premium. And in this case, Hansen believes that this customer will make the change for a model that’s cool and is a standout. [via autonews - sub. required]