For years, General Motors has struggled to build a competitive small car to sell in the United States. This is an area in which the company has traditionally been very weak. Ironically, one of the companies responsible for putting the world on wheels seems to have more trouble building a desirable basic car than any other company.
To alleviate this situation, when it came to designing and building the Aveo, the project was outsourced to GM’s Korean affiliate Daewoo. The result was a world car in the truest sense of the phrase. Called the Daewoo Kalos in its home market, the car was offered in 120 countries around the world under five different brand names—including here in the United States, as the Chevrolet Aveo.
The Aveo/Kalos was the first car Daewoo introduced after General Motors took control following that company’s bankruptcy in November of 2000. First shown in concept form at the Paris Motor Show in 2000, the Aveo was penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro’s firm ItalDesign in Moncalieri, Italy. The first production prototype was shown at the Geneva Auto Show in 2002. The car debuted here in the States in 2004.
While there have been two generations of the Aveo offered to date, the second-generation Chevy Aveo is now known as the Chevrolet Sonic—which we will cover in a future retrospective.