In a follow-up to Jim Klein’s post on the JDM-only Chevrolet MW, another Suzuki-based car with a bowtie stuck in its grille, I present to you the original Chevrolet Cruze. “Original” as in this was the first use of the nameplate, not as in this is a proper Chevrolet (whatever that actually means). So I hear you ask: When is a Chevrolet Cruze not a Chevrolet Cruze? When it’s a Suzuki Swift re-designed by Holden and built in Japan.
Yes, GM got their Australian arm to monkey around with the JDM Suzuki Swift HT51S/HT81S, and Suzuki built those for the Japanese market. Then Holden started distributing them under their own marque in Australia (though those were also Japanese-made) from 2002. The Cruze was then re-branded as the Suzuki Ignis for the European market. Those were made in Hungary. And to top it all off, the EU-market 4WD version was branded as the Subaru Justy G3X. As far as I know, the Chevrolet version was sold in Japan, but also in New Zealand and in several other markets, I’m sure. Confused yet?
In my naïveté, had always thought that Small Asian Chevy = Daewoo, but I was very wrong. Not sure whether this could count as a GM Deadly Sin, but I bet it didn’t do much for Chevrolet as a brand. Whatever it is, it’s a good candidate for William Stopford’s excellent and ever-expanding “Obscure rebadges” series, the latest episode of which captures an earlier iteration of the Suzuki Swift / Chevrolet / Subaru marque salad, at that time with some Pontiac thrown in there for good measure.