The CEO of GM’s Aussie division Mark Reuss has confirmed to Drive that a small hatch based on the Cruze is set to enter production in the third quarter of next year. Reuss also revealed that the car will be designed and engineered fully in Australia, which means that it should be significantly different from the Cruze sedan on which it will be based.
The hatch is expected to be positioned as a more upmarket model compared to the Cruze. Some of the differences will be sportier steering and suspension adjustments, and styling influences taken from the larger Commodore. The hatch could also feature more premium engines like the new 2010 Opel Astra’s 1.4L turbocharged unit as opposed to the Cruze’s naturally aspirated 1.8L mill.
Reuss wasn’t willing to reveal which export markets the hatch may be sold in but insisted the company was “aggressively pursuing” an export deal to replace the $1 billion U.S. Pontiac G8 export program recently axed by GM.