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We here at MotorBiscuit get literally zero e-mails a week from people wondering what the best-selling car south of the border is, not even a posted letter. The lack of curious correspondence aside, it seems like a question worth answering. Why? Because it involves the Chevy Aveo, the American-brand sedan that ties nations together.

What is the Chevy Aveo?

If you’re in the U.S., you may not have thought about the Chevy Aveo in a while, or ever for that matter. Dismissive prejudices against minimalist subcompacts notwithstanding, it was discontinued in 2014, the nameplate at least. It became the economical yet eager Sonic. Yes, the one that Rob Dyrdek kickflipped, or barrel-rolled for those whose hat brims aren’t flat.

With seating for four passengers and 14.9 cubic feet of cargo space—47.7 cubes without the other occupants—it was best-in-class for interior room. A standard seven-inch touchscreen, push-button start, Wi-Fi hotspot, and a smile-inducing factory warranty made it more than a paltry people’s car. But with continuous growth in the SUV and crossover segment, General Motors (GM) decided to shift and remove most of its sedan offerings in the U.S. Converting the Michigan-based Orion Assembly plant for future EV production, GM Korea cancelled the subcompact after the 2020 model year.

EngineTransmissionBody TypeHP/Torque (lb-ft)Drive TypeTrim LevelsMSRP (2020)
Turbocharged 1.4-liter I4Six-speed autoFour-door sedan/Five-door hatchback138/148Front-wheelLS, LT, Premier$16,720-$21,540

Korea? Where did that come from?

Although the Chevy Aveo/Sonic is no longer stateside, it’s still sold in dozens of countries in every corner of the world. In fact, the Chevy Aveo began life as a global car, the Daewoo Kalos from South Korea. When GM bought bankrupt Daewoo Motors in 2002, they saw a moneymaker in the spartan Kalos. After slight modernization in its second generation, it became the Chevy Aveo, a worldwide favorite.

What is Mexico’s best-selling car?

How cool does Mexico's Chevy Aveo look?
2023 Chevy Aveo │ Chevrolet Mexico

Nissan is shifting more units in the Estados Unidos Mexicanos these days, but the Chevy Aveo is the nation’s best-selling model, Mexico Daily Post reports. For a peek at the volume, GM sold 35,769 units during the third financial quarter of 2022. The Chevy Aveo accounted for 39% of that, with 13,905 sedans sold. GM had a double-digit year-over-year increase; therefore, it remains a popular pick.

Engine TransmissionBody TypeHP/Torque (lb-ft)Drive TypeTrim LevelsMSRP (2023)
1.5-liter I4Five-speed manual/Four-speed autoFour-door sedan107/104Front-wheelLS, LT$281,400-$308,400 (MXN)/$15,955-$17,486 (USD)

With a Bluetooth-enabled 4.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a four-speaker stereo, an MP3 player, and climate control, Chevrolet Mexico shows it has everything one would want in el carro de la gente. The modern people’s car also comes with a three-year, 60,000-kilometer warranty, or 37,282.272 miles on America’s imperial scale. But like vehicles for the masses beyond the star-spangled seashores, some aren’t what you may call safe.

Is Mexico’s Chevy Aveo safe?

What's the interior like in Mexico's Chevy Aveo?
2023 Chevy Aveo interior │ Chevrolet Mexico

That depends on how old you are, interestingly enough. For children in the back, the Chevy Aveo gets a four-star rating. For adults in the front, however, only three stars. Charts show that the only regions of the human body that would fare well in an accident are the head and right leg of the driver and passenger. The driver’s feet were fine, but they decided not to give a rating to the passengers’. Luckily, the newest redesigned model for 2023 includes four airbags.

According to the Latin NCAP, it was just a few years ago that you could buy a Chevy Aveo in Mexico without airbags. Subsequently, the safety rating was an unsurprising zero stars. But if you’re an American, you can’t buy a Chevy Aveo anymore, so that’s about as useful as the price of tea in China.

China? Wait, wasn’t that mentioned earlier?

Where is Mexico’s Chevy Aveo made?

Did you know Mexico's Chevy Aveo is made in China?
2023 Chevy Aveo │ Chevrolet Mexico

Ah, yes, that’s why we’re here. Hecho en China is what Mexico’s Chevy Aveo is: made in China. Didn’t expect that, did you? So, how in the world is that possible?

Like what was previously mentioned, the Chevy Aveo is a world car. It’s a simple, economical platform built under a dozen or so names, and sold in countries where some of the most practical methods of transportation have four legs and a saddle. GM, being the multinational leviathan it is, has business ties likewise; for instance, grabbing up South Korea’s Daewoo after the dot-com boom to sell cheap cars across the globe. In China, GM didn’t take over anything but decided to build a business venture with one of China’s “Big Four” automakers.

Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) and GM created the Chevrolet Sail—a rebadged Chevy Aveo—to be sold in the exploding individual car market in China. In 2017, the joint venture imported it to Mexico but changed the nameplate back to Aveo. In 2023, however, the two brought in Wuling Motors to create the triumvirate of SAIC-GM-Wuling to command the Chevy Aveo’s constant worldwide dominance.

So, the next time you’re engaging in continental trekking and come across a Chevy Aveo, don’t be surprised. It’s likely more well-traveled than you.


The Chevy Sonic Was Once the Only Subcompact Car Both Built and Sold in North America