From 1989 until 2001, a variation of the Suzuki Cultus was sold in North America with two different nameplates. It was manufactured as the Geo Metro until 1997, when the nameplate changed to the Chevrolet Metro. Geo Metros were produced through a joint effort between General Motors and Suzuki. When the Geo Metro was first launched, the models were imported from Japan, but as of 1990, all North American versions of the Geo Metro were manufactured at the CAMI Automotive facility in Ingersoll, Ontario, in Canada.
More on the Geo Metro
Geo Metro Origins
The first variation of the Suzuki Cultus sold in North America was called the Chevrolet Sprint, but the Geo Metro was unveiled in 1989 to replace the Sprint in the U.S. Unlike the Sprint, the Geo Metro, designed by General Motors in the U.S., was built on the GM M platform. The Metros did, however, share engines and drivetrains with the Suzuki models. The second generation of the Geo Metro was built on an M platform that was designed only for the North American market.Geo Metro Evolution
When the first generation of the Geo Metro was unveiled, it was still being produced in Japan. It was marketed under several different nameplates and brands in the U.S., including the Suzuki Swift as well as the Geo Metro. This generation of the Geo Metro was available only as a hatchback, either a three-door or five-door longer version. It was equipped with a 1.0L three-cylinder engine that could produce just 55 horsepower. Only one model was initially launched, a base model that was fitted with a five-speed manual transmission.
In 1990, General Motors introduced a higher trim level Geo Metro, designated the LSi model. Fitted with a three-speed automatic transmission, it also had air conditioning and a stereo with a cassette player as standard features. At the same time, General Motors launched the Geo Metro XFi model. This model came with a lower interior trim level, a five-speed manual transmission and the three-door hatchback body style only. This trim level contained an engine that was tuned to produce less power than the base model, but had a higher drive gear ratio. As a result, the fuel economy of this version of the Geo Metro was better than other trim levels.Geo Metro Features
General Motors also launched a two-door convertible version of the Geo Metro. It came with the LSi trim only and was fitted with a driver side airbag and manually-folding top. In 1991, GM increased the number of convertibles being manufactured and also added further paint options. With the 1992 model year, the Geo Metro was redesigned, getting a new front end, hubcaps, and instrument panel with the addition of a cup holder. The end of production of the convertible was 1993, while the five-door hatchback models and the XFi models were discontinued in 1994.
The second generation of the Geo Metro was launched in 1995. It was in production until 2001, but underwent a nameplate change in 1997 to the Chevrolet Metro. This generation of the Geo Metro was available as a three-door hatchback or four-door sedan only. Base and LSi trim models were available for both body styles. The base hatchback model was equipped with a 1.0L three-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission. A 1.3L four-cylinder engine was the standard for the four-door sedan, but was available as an option with the LSi hatchback version of the Geo Metro. The four-cylinder engine had a power rating of 70 horsepower. The manual transmission was the standard transmission for the sedan also, but a three-speed automatic transmission could be chosen as an option on either body style as long as it contained the four-cylinder engine.
This generation of the Geo Metro was equipped with dual frontal airbags and daytime running lights as standard safety equipment. This made it the first of any of GM's vehicles to be equipped with either of these features as standard equipment. Anti-lock brakes remained as options for all styles and trim levels for the Geo Metro cars. The chassis of both the hatchback and sedan were stiffer than the previous version of the Geo Metro, making it the smallest vehicle in the world that met the side impact standards coming into force in 1997 in North America.
While still based on the Suzuki Cultus, both body styles of the Geo Metro were built on a longer wheelbase that was adapted from the platform used for the second generation of the Suzuki Cultus.