Unbeknownst to many Americans, General Motors (NYSE:GM) is the proprietor of several brands other than Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac that sell cars, trucks, and SUVs to the masses across the globe. Brands like Australia’s Holden and Europe’s Vauxhall and Opel all distribute GM-made vehicles to drivers all around the world, and most of its models are completely foreign in name and concept to American car buffs. With these brands and several others, GM has been able to explore different designs and test marketing ideas, all while preserving its American brands and model lineups back home.
There are a variety of reasons the models listed on this list have not made it to American audiences, ranging from differing international safety or efficiency standards to simple customer demand. While you may have seen a model or two driving around in America, it was almost certainly sold in a foreign market.
Here are five of GM’s most noteworthy releases in foreign markets that many Americans can only hope to see make it to dealer’s lots in the United States.
1. Chevy Trax — Canada
Canadian Chevrolet fans are fortunate, as they are the only ones with a chance to purchase the Trax, Chevy’s smallest crossover SUV. The Trax is the first Chevrolet SUV on our list, and also the most compact in all of the Chevrolet lineup worldwide. It’s compact stature help achieve excellent fuel economy whilst kick out plenty of horsepower thanks to an available turbocharged engine. GM struck a nerve with Canadian drivers, who flocked to the nimbleness and efficiency of the Trax when it first hit the streets last year.
The perfect vehicle for the urban SUV lover, the Trax is perfect for city streets thanks to precise steering, a compact exterior, and an array of sensor technology. Drivers still get all the best perks of an SUV, with seating for up to five, unrivaled versatility, and sporty off-road capabilities. But good news — American drivers will be able to snag the Trax in the United States later this year, as the crossover has been a hit after only a year on the other side of the 49th parallel.
2. Holden Ute — Australia
A model that might conjure up visions of yesteryear in many driver’s minds, the Holden Ute is truly one-of-a-kind in the world, and available to Australian GM fans. Under GM’s Australian Holden brand, the Ute looks similar to the Subaru Baja or the old Chevrolet El Camino, however, it is a true performer built for the open road. The Ute essentially takes the guts of a sports car, the spirit of a muscle car, and blends them together into a sleek roadster that also happens to have a bed in the back for cargo.
The Ute also comes loaded with features, like parallel park assist, a rear view camera, and a heads up display. Somehow, GM managed to fit the bells and whistles of a luxury vehicle into the Ute in addition to the sports car features. While only Australians currently have the privilege of trying it out for themselves, the cars have been known to show up in unlikely places. For now, American drivers need to plan a trip down under to get a crack at the Ute for themselves.
3. Chevy Orlando — Canada
A second entry that is only available to our friends in the great white north, the Chevy Orlando is the perfect fit for Canadian families. The Orlando seamlessly blends the best attributes of a minivan with the capabilities of an SUV. With enough room to fit half of the hockey team, this SUV was built to accommodate. Add on a powerful engine to plow through the tricky weather Canada can throw at drivers, and the Orlando is a viable selection for many drivers.
The Orlando’s other strength besides cargo and passenger space is its versatile design. An aerodynamic chassis helps drivers get the most from every tank of gas, all the while hauling a full passenger load. The Orlando can easily traverse wet or snowy terrain, even with a larger stance than other crossovers. In all, the Orlando presents a formidable hybridization of a van and an SUV that American drivers should be champing at the bit to get a chance to take out on the road.
4. Vauxhall ADAM — UK
Classically European by design, the Vauxhall ADAM looks similar to many makes available in America, but brings its own advantages to drivers in the UK. Similar to models made popular by Fiat (FIATY.PK) and Mini, the ADAM is a small car built for city living. Vauxhall makes it available in two dozen variations, allowing for drivers to add their own flair and to personalize their own brand. The ADAM also comes with a very reasonable price tag, making it an excellent choice for UK drivers.
With physical features like three doors, 12 available body colors, and numerous light settings, the ADAM truly presents a blank slate for customers to create their ideal vehicle. Loaded with technology, Vauxhall also outfitted its compact car with a customizable stereo setup and fully-equipped infotainment system. The ADAM is truly the perfect vehicle for European drivers. Americans will have to settle for Vauxhall counterparts — unless a trip to London is on tap.
5. Opel Astra OPC – South Africa
A true compact sports car, the Opel Astra OPC is a vehicle GM makes available to its South African customers. The Astra OPC’s strength lies in its design; a blend of muscularity and intuitiveness not found in many other models around the world. Opel poured some serious engineering prowess when crafting the Opel Astra OPC, rigging the car with the FlexRide Chassis Control System, a strengthened suspension, and advanced braking system. Opel has made this model the perfect vehicle for hitting the urban environs of South Africa and beyond.
Available in a variety of model variations and colors, South African Opel fans can truly get exactly what they want from this car. Each variation comes with an impressive list of standard equipment and features, matching anything available on American soil. American drivers should be salivating at the thought of taking the Astra OPC for a spin, but for now, its only available an ocean away.