GENERAL Motors South Africa last week launched one of the products which form part of its recent R1-billion investment in Nelson Mandela Bay.
The locally manufactured Chevrolet Spark range is set to have positive spin-offs for the company.
"The localisation of the Spark has delivered a number of advantages for us," Malcolm Gauld, GMSA's vice- president of vehicle sales, service and marketing, sayd. "The small- car or A-segment of the market offers significant growth potential in a climate of continued global economic stress.
South Africa is not exempt from the impact of this.
Buyers are increasingly attracted to the economies of operation offered by small cars like the Chevrolet Spark that offer an exceptional value proposition, either as an entry- level purchase or as a stylish, everyday urban transport solution," Gauld says.
The regular appearance of the Spark in the monthly top 10 best sellers list is testimony to this, he says.
While journalists were expecting the new updated passenger Spark, a surprise was the unveiling of a new commercial vehicle, Spark Pronto. This snappy light delivery vehicle is targeted at businesses, large or small, that have a need to deliver small parcels in an urban environment.
Gauld says the Pronto is an ideal delivery platform for pharmaceutical and medical lab customers, as well as service representatives, florists – anyone whose business involves delivery of smaller packages to multiple urban destinations. It also offers an ideal solution for security companies as a quick response vehicle, he says.
As a true commercial vehicle, the Spark Pronto offers the advantage of a full VAT rebate on the purchase price to VAT-registered businesses.
The Pronto was developed for local manufacture with the full technical and engineering support of Chevrolet in Korea.
The small panel van features passenger vehicle-like comfort levels, together with a 275kg and 876 litre payload capacity and good operating economy. Average fuel consumption is just 5.4 l/100km, says Gauld.
The vehicle is powered by the same 1.2-litre, 16-valve dual overhead camshaft engine as the passenger model. Maximum power is a healthy 60kW at 6400rpm with peak torque of 108Nm @ 4800rpm.
Originally offered in just "L" and "LS" specification levels, GM expanded the range late last year to include the Spark Campus as an entry model to the range, targeted at a cost-conscious youth market.
For the 2013 model year they added a top- of-the-range "LT" specification level in a new four-model passenger line-up.
Spark pricing (including VAT) is: 1.2 Campus R106100; 1.2 R113600; 1.2 LS R123000; 1.2 LT R136500; 1.2 Pronto van R101500, R 89035 (excl VAT).
The Spark has a five-year 120000km warranty with five- year unlimited kilometre anti- corrosion cover. Roadside assistance is available throughout the warranty period.
Service intervals are 12 months or 15000km. A service plan is available as an option.