The Chevrolet Cavalier was Chevrolet's version of the compact GM J platform. The Cavalier was one of the most popular cars in the United States and Canada from...More »
The Chevrolet Cavalier was Chevrolet's version of the compact GM J platform. The Cavalier was one of the most popular cars in the United States and Canada from its introduction in early 1981 as a 1982 model. Even in the 2000s, it was GM's best selling car, trailing only the Camry, Accord, Civic, and Ford Taurus.
The Cavalier was Chevrolet's entry-level car from 1989 to 1997 (1992 in Canada). The Cavalier is widely cited as the most successful of Chevrolet's long line of cars aimed at combatting the influx of compact imported vehicles, starting with the Corvair, Vega, Monza and the Chevette, with the Cavalier leading up to current Cobalt. The Chevrolet Vega defined the subcompact class, before being replaced by both the niche-market Monza coupe and the Chevette. After the exit of the Vega, the Monza and Chevette would do little to expand Chevrolet's share of small cars, but the arrival of the Cavalier would change this.
It was not the only J-car to use the Cavalier name; it was also used in the United Kingdom on the Vauxhall-badged version of the Opel Ascona C, and indeed the badge had been used by Vauxhall since 1976.
The relatively short-lived three-door Accord-like hatchback replaced the stylish Monza, which was only available as a 3-door hatchback and thinly disguised Vega wagon. The small Chevette was retained even as sales declined, and was formally replaced by even smaller captive imports. But the largely successful mission of capturing the bulk of domestic compact sales would fall on the Cavalier's two-door sedan, four-door sedan and four-door wagon. The small Cavalier even helped fill in lagging sales of the mid-size Chevrolet Citation (a Chevrolet Nova replacement).
The Cavalier had major restylings in 1988 and 1995. Yet despite strong sales, the car was widely panned and criticized by experts in automotive publications for its aging platform and interior design and quality. The Cavalier would have poor crash test ratings, most notably the high risk of pelvic injury in the third generation model (according to the NHTSA).
Cavaliers were built in Lordstown, Ohio, although they have also been produced in Lansing, Michigan, Janesville, Wisconsin, and Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila, Mexico.
Production of the Cavalier ended in October 2004, with the last 2005 model year Cavalier rolling off the Lordstown Assembly Plant line on October 6, and the very last Cavalier off the Ramos Arizpe Assembly Plant line on September 1. The Cavalier was replaced by the 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt in the United States and Canada, Cobalt and Chevrolet Optra in Canada and Mexico, and Chevrolet Astra in Mexico.
+ First generation (1982-1987)
+ Second generation (1988-1994)
+ Third generation (1995-2005)
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