General Motors Co. will bring a Chevrolet Cruze hatchback to the United States, the company’s North America chief financial officer said Wednesday.

John Stapleton, GM North America CFO, confirmed the Cruze hatch is coming during a presentation to investors at the Citi 2015 Industrials Conference in Boston.

The Detroit automaker revealed the new compact 2016 Chevy Cruze sedan to the media in June in Detroit. The larger and lighter Cruze that will get 40 miles per gallon on the highway is expected in showrooms early next year.

Stapleton did not say when the hatchback would arrive. It may follow the launch of the sedan. Automotive News reported in June that dealers were shown a Cruze hatchback during a meeting in Las Vegas.

“We are excited about the introduction of the all-new 2016 Cruze and what it will offer customers,” a Chevrolet spokeswoman said. “The hatch variant helped make the Cruze Chevrolet’s best-selling car globally and that body style will continue to be offered in various markets. However, we are not confirming markets, timing or content at this time.”

Chevrolet has sold hatchbacks of the Cruze in markets such as Europe and China. It may be adding the five-door model of the Cruze in the U.S. to compete with other automakers and capture a piece of the sales segment.

American Honda Motor Co. Inc. will launch a new hatchback version of its redesigned Honda Civic, bringing a hatchback to the U.S. market. The new Civic sedan is due out this fall; it’s not clear when the hatch will debut. Chevy competitor Ford Motor Co. sells as a hatchback version of its Focus, which accounts for 40 percent of Focus sales.

The Hyundai Elantra,Volkswagen Golf and Mazda3 also compete in the hatch segment.

Tom Libby, manager of loyalty solutions and industry analysis with IHS Automotive, said hatchbacks across all segment sizes in the U.S. account for 5.2 percent of retail sales year-to-date through July. The hatchback percentage in the U.S. has fallen each year since 2012, Libby said.

“The success of the crossover is affecting all other body types except for pickups,” Libby said.

But hatchbacks are forecasted to grow to 5.8 percent of the U.S. industry in 2018, according to IHS Automotive. It forecasts the Cruze hatchback will come to the U.S. by 2017.

Libby said he expects Honda and Chevy are adding hatchbacks so they aren’t at a disadvantage to competitors: “I suspect that the Cruze (hatchback) is partially in response to the success of the Focus.”

The Cruze launched in September 2010 in the U.S., replacing the Cobalt. Chevy says the car has helped attract more younger and female drivers, as well as customers who have not previously purchased a Chevy.

The Cruze is Chevy’s top seller globally, with more than 3.5 million sold in 115 countries since it debuted in 2008 globally. U.S. sales have totaled more than 1 million.

mburden@detroitnews.com

Staff Writer Michael Martinez contributed.

604 3 LINKEDIN 6 COMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://detne.ws/1Kg3ipA