New Beat will miss out on a U.S. launch because of poor demand and stringent crash-safety testsEnlarge Photo
General Motors confirmed at last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show that its Chevrolet Beat concept car would enter production
in South Korea and eventually be sold in Asian and South American markets. While previously there was talk that a production version of the Beat could eventually be sold in the North American market, GM has ruled out such a possibility for now, citing a lack of demand and stringent crash-safety regulations as the main determining factors.
GM's Chief Operating Officer, Fritz Henderson, has revealed during an interview with Automotive News
that introducing the Chevrolet Beat into the North American market is a move that will likely be unsuccessful.
Although the Mercedes Smart car has attained "good receptivity as a bit of a phenomenon," American small-car buyers are more likely to stick with compact cars the size of the Chevrolet Cobalt or subcompacts such as the Chevy Aveo, he explained.
While GM doesn't see a bright future for minicars in its home market, North American buyers are embracing the Smart car in droves. Smart's U.S. distributor has had to upgrade its sales forecast for 2008 by almost 50% in light of skyrocketing demand, and there are reports that Toyota may bring its recently launched iQ minicar Stateside as a Scion