The new Cruze is already on sale in South Korea and will arrive in Europe almost 18 months before the U.S.

The new Cruze is already on sale in South Korea and will arrive in Europe almost 18 months before the U.S.

While General Motors’ financial strife may be putting many of its development plans on the back burner for now, a statement from Chevrolet's European Executive Director confirms that the upcoming Chevrolet Cruze will remain on schedule for its debut in the European market in just a few months.

Expected to debut in Europe in April, the new Cruze is expected to sell in numbers of up around 20,000 to 25,000 in its first year. While sales are important for the midsized Cruze, even more important is turning the considerable European market on to the Chevrolet brand as a whole, and to help it to achieve the success that Ford has had there. Ford's small economical cars have proven a hit in Europe and despite the global financial meltdown Ford of Europe is expected to be profitable both this year and next year, reports Automotive News.

Meanwhile, the Chevrolet Cruze has already been launched in South Korea but still has a long wait until it sees the shores of North America. The car was scheduled to go on sale in North America by mid 2010 as a replacement for the Chevrolet Cobalt, however sources at GM are citing the company's current cash struggles as a factor that will end up delaying it until 2011 at the earliest.

The European market Cruze will be built in GM's Daewoo center in South Korea and then exported to the European market, while the North American and Russian models will be built locally.