Monday, December 12, 2005

The Global Car

Updated: 23 October 2010

Going through old articles which I had printed out and had accumulated over the years, I came across this great one by Paul Si on the Chevrolet Optra.

Front-side shot of a first generation Chevrolet Optra (localised variant), in Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia.
Source: Two hundred percent.

Also known as the Lacetti, this is a car that defies convenient labeling.

Before I talk about the particular model itself, I would like to talk a little bit about Chevrolet brand. It was named after Louis Chevrolet a famous racer and pioneer of automotive innovations from Switzerland.

I remember that some Muslims in Malaysia were turned off by the brand symbol because they thought it was a cross. Stupid! They did't know that it represents a 'Bowtie'. I was surprised to find that many people still have that perception and I am not sure why GM or their representatives in Malaysia are not doing anything to dispel this notion.

Ok about the Chevrolet Optra. Regarding its history, work on it was first started by the engineers of Korean company Daewoo. It was ultimately completed jointly with General Motors experts after the company was taken over and re-named GM Daewoo. The design and styling of the Optra/Lacetti was done by Pininfarina of Italy and suspension developed by Malaysian-owned British firm Lotus.

A 1.8l engine was sourced from GM’s Australian subsidiary, GM Holden, while, German transmission specialists, ZF, supplied the four-speed automatic gearboxes.

The 1.6l engine came from South Korea, which also supplied the five-speed manual box.

The car is built at the GM plant in Rayong, Thailand. One of the vendors is Hicom Automotive Plastics (Thailand) Ltd, wholly owned by DRB-Hicom of Malaysia.

The Optra 1.8l automatic is available from Hicomobil Sdn Bhd and its dealers.

This is a car that has been touched by American, British, French, Italian, Korean, German, Australian and even Malaysian influences.

Truly a Global car.

Trivia: This car was the new reasonably-priced car in Top Gear's "Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car" segment for season 8.

Also read The Optra option.

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