2011 Chevrolet Sail: The new $8,000 Chevy for China

General Motors is on its way to sell more vehicles in China than it does in the United States. Shanghai GM made that move more possible today by introducing a new entry-level small car called the Chevrolet Sail. The 2011 Chevrolet Sail will be sold in China and will also be exported to other emerging markets.

“Several years ago, Shanghai GM made the strategic decision to broaden our customer base by developing the New Sail,” said Shanghai GM President Ding Lei “We improved cost efficiency while setting new quality, fuel efficiency and value standards for economical family cars. With the arrival of the New Sail, we now have an entry in every major passenger car segment.”

Power for the new Chevrolet Sail comes from a 85-hp 1.2L S-TEC II and a 101-hp 1.4L S-TEC III. The 1.2L model will return best in-class fuel-economy averaging 41 mpg while the 1.4L model will average 40 mpg.

Prices for the 2011 Chevrolet Sail range from RMB 56,800 ($8,400 USD) to RMB 68,800 ($10,100 USD).

Follow the jump for the press release and the high-res image gallery.

2011 Chevrolet Sail:

Press Release:

Shanghai GM Introduces Chevrolet New Sail Small Car

– First car developed in China by a joint venture
– Best in class fuel economy
– Will be sold in China and exported to other emerging markets

Shanghai ““ Shanghai GM today introduced the Chevrolet New Sail sedan, the first passenger car created in China by a Sino-foreign joint venture. The new small car was developed by Shanghai GM and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC), both GM-SAIC joint ventures. In addition to being sold in China, the New Sail will also be exported to other emerging markets.

Shanghai GM offers five variants of the New Sail with the base model priced from RMB 56,800 (US$8,400) to RMB 68,800 (US$10,100). This marks a breakthrough in the under-RMB 70,000 (US$10,300) small car segment, where Chinese brands have traditionally been dominant. Shanghai GM also began taking orders for the New Sail today.

“Our mission has always been to enable more individuals and families to realize their dream of owning a car,” said Kevin Wale, President and Managing Director of the GM China Group. “With the New Sail, we are setting a new standard for the lower-end small car segment while fully living up to the global standards of Chevrolet, one of the world”s leading vehicle brands. The fact that the New Sail will be exported is a testament to the capabilities of our product development organization in China.”

Class-Leading, Fuel-Efficient Powertrains

The New Sail is available with a choice of class-leading 1.2-liter S-TEC II and 1.4-liter S-TEC III engines. The 1.2-liter engine achieves best in class fuel economy under comprehensive road conditions of 5.7 L/100 km. It also generates power of 64 kW, enabling the New Sail to go from 0 to 100 km/h in 12.9 seconds. The 1.4-liter engine offers power 76 kW, goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 11.9 seconds, and has fuel economy under 5.9 L/100 km.

The engines incorporate the Variable Geometry Intake System (VGIS), which provides smooth power delivery and torque across all engine speeds. Lightweight materials are used in the engine, transmission and body, further increasing fuel efficiency. The optimized friction coefficient in the transmission and tire rolling coefficient reduce energy loss caused by mechanical operation. In line with Shanghai GM”s Drive to Green strategy, both engines meet China”s Phase IV emission standard (as well as the Euro IV standard) and can be upgraded to meet China”s Phase V emission standard.

Even though it is classified as a small car, the New Sail ensures a fun driving experience. Its five-speed manual transmission offers smooth gear shifting. The sporty-looking steering wheel provides pinpoint handling and easy control, while the sporty yet solid chassis provides comfort and excellent handling. The driver enjoys maximum visibility courtesy of the New Sail”s large windshield, seats designed for local users and no-blind-spot rearview mirror.

Stylish Exterior, Spacious Interior

Like other vehicles wearing the Chevrolet bowtie, the New Sail is sporty, enjoyable to drive and offers good value for money. The New Sail features Chevrolet”s trademark horizontal split grille with the gold Chevrolet emblem showcased in the middle. Three muscular sidelines provide the car a three-dimensional look. A unique short-in-front, long-in-back suspension brings a sporty edge to the exterior. The streamlined shape of the vehicle adds a dynamic styling element while reducing drag, for lower fuel consumption. The New Sail is initially available in six exterior colors: Crescent Silver, Jasmine White, Sky Blue, Coral Red, Amber Orange and Starfish Blue.

The interior is likewise unique and all Chevrolet. It includes the brand”s twin-cockpit design as well as a flexible, modern central control panel equipped with a radio, CD player and MP3 interface. Designers have added a sporty touch through a double-digital screen and chrome plating. The New Sail”s adoption of a central fuel tank, a short front and rear suspension, and arch-shaped doors maximizes interior space for up to five people. There are 24 interior storage compartments for added convenience.

Advanced Safety

The New Sail is expected to achieve four stars in China New Car Assessment Program (C-NCAP) testing. The New Sail”s safety cage construction with crumple zones offers class-leading passenger protection. A steel frame surrounds the fuel tanks, for added safety. Dual air bags in front, a retractable steering column, antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, child safety locks and a stronger child seat system are standard. The New Sail also offers outstanding pedestrian protection.

Developed in China for Emerging Markets

The New Sail was jointly developed by Shanghai GM and PATAC off a new architecture in accordance with GM”s Global Vehicle Development Process (GVDP) and worldwide standards for engineering and quality. The development team for the New Sail factored in local climate and driving conditions as well as local fuel quality and Chinese driving habits in the new model”s design. The vehicle”s assembly followed the DTS global C-BOB (best of best) standard.

The New Sail was put through more than 2 million kilometers of testing in extreme hot and cold weather conditions.

To ensure that parts and components meet Chevrolet”s international standards in terms of quality, service, technology and price, 95 percent of components were supplied by members of GM”s global supply chain, with more than 40 percent coming from industry-leading component groups or their joint ventures.

GM”s global quality management processes and regulations were also applied in R&D, procurement, quality recognition and manufacturing. Shanghai GM”s paint shop adopted Generation 6 Zero-Emission Painting for the New Sail. The vehicle meets all European Union environmental protection standards in terms of heavy metal proportion and the recycling rate of the full vehicle.

World-class Chevrolet Gold Tie Service will be offered to New Sail buyers by Shanghai GM. Approximately 380 dealers in more than 200 cities across China will offer customers nine free services as well as 24-hour emergency assistance.

General Motors, one of the world’s largest automakers, traces its roots back to 1908. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 209,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in some 140 countries. GM and its strategic partners produce cars and trucks in 34 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM is the joint global automobile partner of World Expo 2010 Shanghai along with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation Group (SAIC). More information on the new General Motors can be found at www.gm.com.

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– By: Omar Rana