Text: Brent Co / Photos: GM Press | posted August 01, 2016 12:08
A closer look at the new Chevrolet Sail with GM China
Designed in China for emerging markets
The Sail is a fully Chinese-designed vehicle with Chevrolet roots. As explained by Chief Designer Bert Wang who is based in the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC), GM’s joint-venture R&D center in Shanghai. Designers were tasked to come up with a regionally relevant car that contained Chevy DNA — such as the signature bowtie-clad radiator grill, two element tail lights, and hooded instrument cluster.
Development of the Sail was completely done in-house at the 3,000 people-strong PATAC Wanggang campus in Shanghai. It went through the GM vehicle development process from January 2011 to October 2014, which involves three major steps: Design -> Building -> Validate and Modification. The manufacturing validation process alone normally takes about 6-9 months.
The facility houses world-class testing facilities such as a climate wind tunnel; vehicle safety labs; noise, vibration & harshness (NVH) labs; materials labs; a visualization center; Euro V emissions labs; engine and transmission labs; kinematics & compliance labs; structure labs; and electric and electronic system labs.
From China to the world
Production is wholly done at the SAIC-General Motors facility in Dong Yue in Yantai, Shandong; the same facility which exports the Buick Envision to the US. The assembly plant was recently given a BIQ (Built in Quality) Level IV where internal auditors meticulously benchmark manufacturing processes and plant outputs to ensure top-notch worldwide quality standards.
GM's Paul Buetow (a GM veteran) oversees the whole manufacturing process to make sure things are of International GM standards.
The facility likewise assembles the Buick Encore, Chevrolet Trax, and Chevrolet LOVA RV; a Chinese market hatchback that shares the same platform with the Sail.
Apart from the Philippines, GM’s Dong Yue production base also exports the Sail to Bolivia, Cambodia, Chile, Ecuador, Laos, and Peru.
In terms of safety and durability, the Sail has undergone a significant testing process which involved a 48,000-km durability test, 480,000-km simulated road test, 2,320,000-km regular durability test, 350,000-km powertrain testing and 640,000-km exhaust durability tests.
It is also built with ultra high tensile steel with optimized crash safety. It received the China-NCAP’s 4 star-rating, acing 37 crash tests.
The Chevrolet Sail makes a serious offering to markets like the Philippines, which have a relatively high demand for low-cost small sedans.
For our market, Chevy PH has put together three trim levels. The first is the LT M/T with 1.3-liter engine mated with a 5-speed manual gearbox. The LT A/T is the same engine offered with a 4-speed automatic. The LTZ has 1.5-liter engine, 4-speed automatic transmission and a sunroof. Both engines come with variable valve timing.
One of its key features is a top-notch infotainment system, running on an Android-powered operating system with a 9-inch screen. Naturally, it has built-in applications such as Waze and Spotify and comes with Google Play Store for Android. Connectivity is a breeze with bluetooth, USB, screen mirroring, and voice commands.
Chevrolet’s newest passenger car offering will be "sailing" upwind as it goes against segment stalwart — the Toyota Vios, which also happens to be the country’s best-selling vehicle. It is well-built, good value proposition, offering welcoming variety from a sea of familiarity.