General Motors gave a preview of what to expect at the Paris Auto Show later this month, and TopSpeed was there to spend some exclusive time with GM’s design chief Ed Welburn.

As we’ve reported earlier, the Chevrolet Cruze will be the new small car that GM will give to the world. It will first go on sale in Europe by 2009, but won’t start production in the U.S. until April of 2010. The Cruze is bigger than all of the current competition, and that may be due to the fact that it’s an international offering. When speaking with Welburn, he told us that because this car is essentially the same no matter if it in Europe, United States, or any other country, it grows to meet all standards. As an example, Welburn pointed out that to meet pedestrian safety standards of Europe meant raising and elongating the hood, then the rest of the car’s proportions had to grow to keep the balance.

In Europe, the engine choices will be a 112 hp 16-valve, 1.6-liter and 140 hp 1.8-liter gasoline engines as well as 150 hp 2.0-liter turbo diesel. Although the engine choices have not yet been announced for the U.S. spec Cruzes, a four-cylinder turbocharged, direct-injection 1.4-liter is rumored that could deliver up to 40 mpg in highway driving.

We will have more exclusive content from General Motor’s Paris preview as well as its hundredth anniversary later this week.


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