Chevrolet Utility – A Market Favourite

  • Third generation model based on all new Chevrolet platform
  • New model build has built on success of previous model
  • Payload range of between 733 and 763 kg with 681 kg for ultra-efficient diesel
  • Ten model range with choice of petrol or diesel power
  • Fully meets exacting global General Motors quality standards

Chevrolet Utility South Africa

Evolved from the Corsa Utility that laid the foundations for what has become an icon in the sub-one ton pick-up market in South Africa, the third generation Chevrolet Utility first broke cover in its native Brazil early in 2011 where it is known as the Chevrolet Montana. There it immediately captured the imagination of buyers with record monthly sales achieved from introduction. Initial sales volumes fell just short of 4,000 units a month in the face of high demand at retail level.

This exciting new small pick-up immediately captured the attention of the media as well, very quickly racking up awards from this critical audience. Leading media in Brazil: Top Car TV; Car Magazine; and Abiauto all declared the new small Chevrolet pick-up the best vehicle in its segment.

In South Africa the previous model Chevrolet Utility became the benchmark vehicle in the sub-1 ton class and segment sales leader for over 7 years in a row with a market share as high as 46% in 2011. Behind this sustained sales success is a formula that provides for a spacious, feature rich small pick-up that is ideal for business use and also attracts a large following amongst private and recreational users. The latest Chevrolet Utility, the third generation of the model, has picked up where the previous model left off to further raise the bar in its segment. The popularity of the Chevrolet Utility continues unabated with the new model ranked as the segment sales leader for the period January through May 2012.

The first generation small pick-up, based on the Combo van from GM, arrived in South Africa in 1997 and very quickly defined a new market segment for modern technology three-quarter ton pick-ups. The second generation model followed in 2004, within a year of its international launch and once again established a new market trend.

Popularity of the Chevrolet Utility saw GMSA achieve a marketing milestone with the delivery of the 100,000th locally produced unit in May 2009. Since then local production has grown to over 190,000 units as global sales head towards 600,000 units with South Africa accounting for some 30% of that total.

A key factor in the success of the Chevrolet Utility is the fact that it has again set new benchmarks for the class in terms of interior space and comfort, style, features, and overall utility. Add to this the solid heritage of the Chevrolet brand and a sense of fun in ownership.

Payload capability is between 733 kg and 763 kg depending on model with the high efficiency diesel model certified for 681 kg. The new Chevrolet Utility is offered with a choice 1,4 litre and 1,8 litre petrol engines, or a 1.3 litre common rail diesel injection turbocharged engine. All drive through a manual 5-speed transmission.

Driver and passenger airbags are a standard fitment across the range as is a height adjustable steering wheel. The driver’s seat is height adjustable on all models and height adjustment is provided for the three point seat belts. ABS brakes with EBD are standard on all but the entry level 1.4 Base model (1.4 Base without AC).

Remote central locking and anti-theft alarm arming are standard on all but the base specification models. Where air-conditioning is included in the specification this is linked to a digital ventilation control panel. On the Club and Sport models the audio system features integrated Bluetooth, a USB port, and iPod connectivity. The headlight system on all models incorporates “Follow Me Home Lights” and “Lead Me To The Car Light”, two important security features.

The all new third generation Chevrolet Utility is built on a clean sheet design platform with up-to-date styling that introduces visible Chevrolet DNA to the model, clearly defining this new model as a member of the Chevrolet family and true to the proud 100-year plus heritage of the Chevrolet brand.

Overall length is 4,514mm with a width 1,700mm. The wheelbase is 2,669mm. Front and rear track are 1,429mm 1,439mm respectively.

Within these dimensional boundaries the design team produced an up-to-the-minute styling package that capitalises on the advantages of the new platform. Of prime importance is the functionality of the load box with its payload capacity of between 733 and 763 kilograms for petrol models and 681 kg for the diesel.

Buyers have a choice of ten models. Base, Club and Sport specification levels are offered together with either a 1,4 litre or 1,8 litre petrol engine or a 1,3 litre turbo-diesel. A factory fitted aircon option is available on the Base 1.4 model. Aircon is standard on the1.8 Base.

The 1,4 and 1,8 litre petrol engines have proven themselves well suited to their application and durable in this vehicle in the previous generation model. Revisions to hardware and electronics have improved both driveability and efficiency. Both are single overhead camshaft 8-valve engines that produce 68kW @ 6,000 r/min and 77kW @ 5,400 r/min respectively with maximum torque of 120Nm @ 3,200 r/min for the 1,4 litre engine and 161Nm @ 3,000 r/min for the 1,8 litre unit. Both are mated to a 5-speed manual transmission.

The diesel option is filled by a latest generation 1.3 litre common rail turbocharged diesel engine with electronically controlled variable vane turbo technology. Twin overhead camshafts drive the four valves per cylinder for efficient breathing and combustion. The common rail Multi-jet injection system runs at a pressure of 1,600 bar.

Maximum power is 55 kW @ 4,000 r/min with peak torque of 170 Nm @ 1,750 through 2,500 r/min. This level of performance is delivered with exceptional fuel economy of 5.5 litres/100km.

This latest generation Chevrolet Utility is a significant model for General Motors South Africa as it moves towards its goal of the local production of a minimum of 50, 000 vehicles per annum across three platforms at its Port Elizabeth manufacturing facilities, a target in line with the government’s Automotive Production Development Programme which comes into effect in 2013.

The introduction of the Chevrolet Utility into the popular sub-1 ton market sector saw the completion of the first phase of a R1 billion investment programme aimed at modernising GM’s plant and facilities in the Eastern Cape to make them more efficient and globally quality compliant as integrated members of the General Motors international vehicle supply chain.

The global quality compliance target set by General Motors is that the company should achieve Best-in-Segment quality in all markets in which it competes by 2012. This in effect lays down a challenge to achieve zero defect manufacturing quality.

GMSA is fully aligned with GM’s international quality standards and audit procedures and fully up to the task of meeting the challenge of Best-in-Segment quality across its locally produced range of vehicles.