The second-generation Chevrolet Cruze has been photographed in China, revealing General Motors’ all-new global small car undisguised inside and out for the first time.
The images, first published by motoring blog Auto Sohu, show the Chinese version of the Chevrolet Cruze, which will differ from the version sold in established markets around the world but is expected to share some cues with the global model from a design perspective.
The major design points of the spied Chinese Cruze align with those of a camouflaged prototype spotted testing in Europe last year, suggesting differences may be limited to styling subtleties, interior trims and drivetrain components.
A Holden spokesman confirmed the car in the images was the "first iteration of the next-gen Cruze", which will be unveiled in China later this year.
He confirmed this version of the all-new 2015 Cruze has been "developed specifically for consumer tastes and needs in China", and warned it could not be assumed that other versions of the Cruze for other markets would look like the Chinese one.
"Differentiated variants for other markets will launch in due course," he said. "The Cruze program is flexible enough to meet regional markets needs without compromise. We have no additional info about those variants to announce today."
The front of the Chinese Cruze appears to take inspiration from Australia's own Holden Commodore, with a thin grille incorporating Chevrolet’s bowtie badge and a larger lower intake flanked by daytime running lights and fog lights.
Sleek headlights sweep from the grille edges and connect to a high beltline that runs from front to rear and incorporates the door handles. Angular tail-lights span the rear quarter panels and boot lid, connected by a line of satin chrome.
The interior of the Chinese model appears identical to a prototype spied in Germany besides its China-specific brown leather dashboard and seat upholstery.
The future of the Cruze in Australia remains a mystery, with Holden refusing to reveal its plans for the new model, which is due to launch globally in 2015.
Holden produces the current-generation Cruze sedan and hatchback in South Australia but has given no confirmation it will build the all-new model, fuelling speculation it will cease local Cruze production as early as next year despite planning to continue Commodore production until the end of 2017.
As it’s based on an entirely new platform and features new sheet metal and components, producing the Cruze would require significant retooling of the Elizabeth factory – a big investment for what would be just two years of production.
If it does wind up production of the current-gen car in 2015 or 2016, Holden may decide to import the new model, or, as CarAdvice reported in January, drop the Cruze altogether and replace it with the new-generation European Astra, which is also expected to launch around the same time.