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Chevrolet to introduce the Spark EV at 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show

LOS ANGELES — General Motors has big plans for the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. One of those plans is the world debut of the Spark EV all-electric vehicle. It will be powered by a lithuim-ion battery supplied by A123 Systems with an electric motor producing up to 114 horsepower. It is expected to have a driving range of 81 miles under normal conditions. The Spark EV will also come with regenerative braking, which allows it to charge itself when stopped at red lights or stop signs. This will be GM’s first all-electric vehicle since the EV1 project was scrapped in 2003.

“We have several exciting things planned,” said David Barnas, GM’s Group Manager of Global Design for U.S. Auto Shows. “Our major news for the L.A. Auto Show is for Chevrolet and it will serve as the global introduction for the Spark EV. It is the first all-electric vehicle for Chevrolet so we’re excited about that. We’ll also a number of auto show introductions and a number of consumer-oriented activities. The primary news for us is the global debut of the Spark EV.”

Can you discuss the number of concept cars GM will have on display?

“In the Chevrolet display, we’ll have two concept cars that debuted at the North American International Auto Show earlier in the year,” he added. “This represents the first time that they’ll be in Los Angeles and southern California. That would be the Chevrolet Tru and the Chevrolet Code concept cars. These are two ‘youth-oriented’ concepts that we are trying to solicit feedback from younger buyers in terms of what they’re looking for in the automobiles moving forward. Interestingly enough, both those vehicles were designed at our design center in North Hollywood.”

What will be some of the big reveals for GM’s other three brands — Buick, Cadillac and GMC?

“We really don’t have any specific concept cars for GMC, for Buick or for Cadillac at the L.A. Auto Show this year,” the group manager of global design for U.S. auto shows explained. “We do have exceptional products that will be on the show floor and real key for each brand. Specifically, for Cadillac, the Cadillac ATS and the Cadillac XTS sedans will be on the show floor. Those are all new in the marketplace over the last six months or so. The entire Buick line-up will be on the show floor including the Verano, the Regal and the LaCrosse as well. GMC’s complete line-up will be on the show floor as well.”

Are GM’s four displays going to be about the same size as last year or bigger?

“They will be pretty much dimensionally the same,” Barnas said. “Our footprint in L.A. is fairly similar to last year. We’ve just adjusted the size of each of the displays to accommodate the various models and needs for each of our individual brands. For show goers in Los Angeles, it will be clearly recognizable for all four of our brands for Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and for Cadillac. We’re cycling into the 2014 model year here. We’ll have a selection of 2014 model year vehicles, and also 2013 model year vehicles as well.”

What can the media expect to see on the two press days?

“Our primary news is the global reveal of the Spark EV, that will be in the Chevrolet press conference,” he added. “As of this time, we are not bringing in celebrities. As we like to say, for most of our products, the cars are the stars. Our emphasis will really be on our great product offerings for each of our four brands in Los Angeles.”

What can folks look forward to on public days?

“We have a host of great product and a level of interactivity for consumers as well,” the group manager of global design for U.S. auto shows explained. “We’re actively soliciting input from show goers on the Chevrolet youth concepts in terms of which one resonates the most as we move forward with those vehicles. We’ll have the Camaro Hot Wheels production model that will be on the show floor. That car just debuted at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. It will be in the Chevrolet exhibit along with a Hot Wheels race track around the car as well for a level of interactivity. We’ll also have a Spark model from the SEMA Show as well to connect with the aftermarket. There will be a Chevy MyLink display as well. There will be a Cadillac CUE display.”

How many GM vehicles will be participating in the ride-and-drive activity outside?

“We expect to have two Chevrolet Volts participating during the media days and ride-and-drive,” Barnas said. “We’re excited about that opportunity.”

Several news outlets are reporting that GM will be releasing 13 new or redesigned models in the next year. How many of them will be on display in L.A.?

“We are at the very beginning of a product offensive right now,” he added. “Obviously, the Chevrolet Spark will be making it’s debut in Los Angeles in a couple of weeks. That will be one of the new models that we’ll have available in the marketplace heading into next year. We have a lot more product stories coming in the future. We’re very excited about it. The L.A. Auto Show is very significant within the industry. For us, it’s a way for us here at GM’s it’s a way for us to connect to the hugely important, always important, California marketplace. For us, we look at L.A. as being one of the top tier auto shows, not only in the United States, but in the world as well.”
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