By on March 20, 2012

Chevrolet’s Spark minicar will go on sale in July starting at  a price point below the Sonic’s $14,600 (destination included). The Korean-built minicar competes in the “A-segment”, alongside the Fiat 500, Smart Fortwo and Scion iQ.

While the Spark is about 5 inches longer than a Fiat 500, it is over a foot shorter than the Sonic hatchback. Distinctive styling and an uprated 1.2L 4-cylinder engine will be hallmarks of the North American Spark, as will a 7-inch touch screen that can be integrated with the driver’s smartphone. Rather than offering expensive options like navigation, the screen will allow for phone-based navigation to be used.

The real question is how many Chevrolet can sell, and the company is non-committal with regards to sales prospects. One Chevrolet rep told Automotive News that the company hasn’t set a hard target, and one can easily read between the lines to get a real sense of how apprehensive Chevrolet is regarding the Spark. Oh ya – it comes in pink, too.

 

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93 Comments on “Chevrolet Spark Pricing Will Undercut Sonic...”


  • avatar
    GMis4GoodManners

    Isn’t that perfectly logical? The choice of the word “undercut” (itself a negative word) implies you thought it would cost more. In fact, this concept is a non-event; it would be news worthy is the smaller, less powerful, less equiped model cost more! Fail to see your reason for this article at all.

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      Well, you would think so, but when the Scion iQ came in at a price significantly higher than the Yaris, you start to wonder.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Scion iQ pricing is insane when compared to other product offerings from the Toyota family.

        The whole A segment in North America is struggling for a reason to exist, beyond bean counting politicos and CAFE standards.

      • 0 avatar
        PintoFan

        I think Toyota will learn quickly that the iQ pricing is absurd relative to the competition in the market.

    • 0 avatar
      MrWhopee

      Indeed, it’s right there with “Corollas are priced less than Camrys”, “Mercedes C-classes are priced less than S-classes”, “Casio watches are priced less than Rolexes”, “The sky is blue”, and so forth. Must be slow news day.

    • 0 avatar
      janeq

      “We believe the new Spark from Chevy will compete for market share with the recently introduced Sonic due to close price proximity and overlap of features” would have made too long a headline.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    Since all smartphones now have navigation – but aren’t necessarily convenient to use while driving – I hope that tethering it to a generic touchscreen:

    1. Provides an uncomplicated and intuitive interface
    2. Allows control from steering wheel controls (my reason for preferring built-in nav)
    3. Will be supported for at least several years
    4. Actually works as designed and intended.

    Hope springs eternal…perhaps I’d be better off wishing for moderates to take over one of the two major U.S. political parties. ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The generic dock idea is a pretty good one. Between Bluetooth HID and HDMI that might be kinda-sorta possible. The problem is that phone apps aren’t designed for cursor control (which BT HID is), Bluetooth is a colossal clusterf__k anyway and no one seems able to standardize on an HDMI connector.

      And moderates did take over the Democrats (their actual track record is pretty Reaganesque). For left-wing extremists like me, that’s a problem.

      • 0 avatar
        marjanmm

        That’s funny. Democrats are to the right compared to anything we would call a left wing party in Europe. Despite that, they are often labelled socialist by the other side of US political life, on this blog too.

    • 0 avatar
      GoTerpsGo

      I wish the carmakers could come together and create some sort of hardware standard (Apple 30-pin? Micro USB?) or software API that would combine any head unit (OEM or after-market) with any steering wheel-mounted audio/phone controls. I had a line-of-site remote with my Sony MEX-BT3700 and it was totally useless when driving.

      I suspect the changes of this happening are as great as Democrats growing a spine.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    If two Aveos got married and had a baby, this would be it. Daewoo has not improved like H/K have, so I’m not too enthusiastic about this latest Daewoo, their history is not the best.

    • 0 avatar
      PintoFan

      “Daewoo has not improved like H/K have”

      And on what do you base this assessment?

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        on the fact that ALL cars they make for others are a big POS, the reason Suzuki is almost out of the US is because most of their products are re-badged Daewoo, I’m in the appliance business and Daewoo sells in Latin America and their products are inferior, so are their electronics, their electronics failed in the US market as well and in case you forgot, they also failed in the US car market with their crappy cars.

      • 0 avatar
        tonyola

        I wonder if you said the same thing about Hyundai five years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        In the JD Power 2012 Vehicle Dependability Survey, the Aveo got a bottom rating.

        In the JD Power 2011 Initial Quality Survey, the 2011 Aveo got bottom ratings in the Mechanical Quality and Powertrain Quality – Mechanical categories.

        In the JD Power 2011 Initial Quality Survey, the 2011 Cruze got a bottom ranking in the Powertrain Quality – Mechanical category.

        In Consumer Reports, the Cruze was the least reliable compact in the survey.

        A lot of reliability comes from the engineering. If you have evidence to show that the old Daewoo has vastly improved in this area, then provide it.

        I think that we all need to understand that GM is under the impression that it makes high quality cars and that their processes and execution aren’t inferior to the competition. This is a problem.

        There is no sense of urgency to up the game because they already think that they are winning it. They do seem to have realized that they needed better interiors and have made real strides in improving them, but they still don’t get that they just don’t excel in making them reliable. Being better than before is not the same as being better than anyone else.

      • 0 avatar
        GMis4GoodManners

        NONE of their products are currently re-badged Daewoos. And as far as POS – my daily commuter is a 2005 Suzuki Forenza wagon, and it hit 165,000 miles this morn on the way to work, and has never broken down.

      • 0 avatar
        jhott997

        PCH101:
        “I think that we all need to understand that GM is under the impression that it makes high quality cars and that their processes and execution aren’t inferior to the competition. This is a problem.

        There is no sense of urgency to up the game because they already think that they are winning it”

        Seems somebody on here is paying attention…

      • 0 avatar
        PintoFan

        Even if the Aveo and Cruze have some issues, they’re still leaps and bounds ahead of the self-branded Daewoos that were sold in North America, as well as anything Hyundai or Kia were selling more than a decade ago. Whether or not GM Korea has risen to the level of Hyundai or Kia remains to be seen. But I still don’t see the issue with pointing out the cognitive dissonance of those who say GM Korea can never improve on one hand, while holding up Hyundai/Kia as paragons of virtue on the other. Now that GM Korea has been turned into a cornerstone of GM’s global strategy, you can bet that they will invest considerable resources into making the product as good as they can with the money they have. Developing a true world-car strategy rather than simply rebadging existing product is one way that quality gains have already been realized; the Spark is part of that strategy, as was the Sonic.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Even if the Aveo and Cruze have some issues, they’re still leaps and bounds ahead of the self-branded Daewoos that were sold in North America”

        This bears repeating: “Being better than before is not the same as being better than anyone else.”

        “Whether or not GM Korea has risen to the level of Hyundai or Kia remains to be seen.”

        I’ve already shown you that hasn’t.

        You asked evidence that the GM Korean products were inferior. Well, now you have it. Your response: You want to ignore it, and to pretend that the jury is still out, even though the verdict has already been rendered.

        This suggests to me that you aren’t really interested in the answer.

        “Now that GM Korea has been turned into a cornerstone of GM’s global strategy, you can bet that they will invest considerable resources into making the product as good as they can with the money they have”

        Again, this bears repeating: “I think that we all need to understand that GM is under the impression that it makes high quality cars and that their processes and execution aren’t inferior to the competition. This is a problem. There is no sense of urgency to up the game because they already think that they are winning it.”

        Hyundai improved because its management realized that it was building lousy cars. They wanted to expand their market, and to succeed in the US, they knew that they had to improve their game.

        GM doesn’t see a need to improve quality. GM believes that it already builds outstanding quality today, and that the problem is with the brainwashed customer who refuses to agree.

        Until GM recognizes that it generally builds inferior cars, they will not improve. The corporate response will be to complain about the customer and the yellow horde, not to set the bar for reliability.

    • 0 avatar
      Oren Weizman

      If Pontiac made blenders

      • 0 avatar
        morbo

        +1,000,000

        From the guy that owned a POS new ’03 Bonneville for all of 6 months and STILL hates GM (and GM’s response to selling me a lemon) 9 years later.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        Sorry to hear that Morbo, I was under the impression Bonnes were pretty solid, unless you opted for the Northstar derived GXP, in which case I sympathize. Perhaps the Bonne is the car of DOOOOOOOOOOOOM.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      You’re obviously one of those people who are NEVER going to allow the Aveo to die. You have some kind of vested interested in keeping the bigotry going that Daewoo-designed = crap. And whether or not the cars themselves live up to that expectation is irrelevant. You’ll just keep shouting it louder in the hopes that other don’t notice the actual quality of the product being currently produced.

      And every Daewoo you’re happily complaining about (both GM and Suzuki) have been out of production for awhile now. Yes, their past stuff was crap. I’m willing to take the new product on a car by car basis, actually interested in how good the cars are, not some haters permanently pre-conceived notion.

      And long term quality (which of course you’ll bring up next)? I guess we’ll find out when the cars become long term.

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        Time will tell, just remember that for the past few years, Aveo was the laughing stock of the industry in the US. You could just about recommend any new car, except that one and Smart, now the new joke is the Fisker at $100 gran more!

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “You’re obviously one of those people who are NEVER going to allow the Aveo to die.”

        Why are you expecting others to sweep the quality issues of 2011 cars — cars that were built **last year** — under the rug?

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        Yeah, because the car built “last year” was obviously the same car built seven years ago, with no effort to have it be anything but a placeholder in the marketing slot. The Spark is (supposedly) a different car, redesigned and improved based on the mistakes of the past. I’m waiting to see if that is true. If not, I’ll happily slam it like an Aveo.

        We’re talking the 2012 (or is it 2013?) Spark, not the 2011 Aveo. The difference is that I’ll wait until AFTER it fails (if it does, of course) before I start slamming it. And I’m not going to slam it based on its out of production predecessor. They’re two different cars.

        It’s called keeping an open mind. Which, I notice, a lot of people have problems doing nowadays. Guess it gets in the way of their preconceived notions.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Yeah, because the car built “last year” was obviously the same car built seven years ago, with no effort to have it be anything but a placeholder in the marketing slot.”

        This is an odd comment. Not only are you expecting miracles from a company that you claim makes “no effort”, but you’re expecting everyone else to expect them, too.

        Track record matters. The GM products being engineered in Korea have not been particularly reliable. The Cruze is obviously a recent design, and it has not exactly been a benchmark for reliability in its class.

        Again, GM doesn’t take reliability all that seriously, hence the problem. They aren’t going to change just because some anonymous poster on the internet says that they will.

  • avatar
    PintoFan

    This is news?

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Sorta. File it under, “Unlike Toyota, GM stays rational on pricing.” Actually, I’m looking forward to seeing the car in the metal. I liked the Sonic, and if this is playing in the same ballpark, it could be interesting.

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        When you see some manufacturer charging over $100k for a car that cannot even be trusted to go on a trip w/o having mechanical failure, it’s hard to have much faith in these modern automakers.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Smaller car is cheaper than larger car, film at 11… (in other news, water is wet.)

    • 0 avatar

      I know right?

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      LOL, that was great Dan.

    • 0 avatar
      alluster

      @Dan “Smaller car is cheaper than larger car, film at 11… (in other news, water is wet.) ”

      Tough crowd here.

      Comparisons to the iQ, and Fiat by the OP are not valid since they both have higher content, are not mainstream brands, have a lot of engineering put into their development, quirky with cool styling and so obviously command a price premium, similar to how a Mini is more expensive than a camry. The Spark OTH is a an ugly abomination that should have never left the drawing board. GM took all criticism’s to heart and wants to prove they make small cars too. There is no need for them to go overboard and compete in every possible segment, especially the A segment at less than 1% of the total market. The 1000 or so units this would sell a month could have easily come from the Sonic if they knocked the price down by $1000 on the base model. The margins are too poor to make it worthwhile. The resources would have been better spent on developing an aggressive midsize Buick CUV to compete against the Lexus RX.

      But again, I initially thought the Sonic was a waste of time which proved me wrong with segment leading sales(excluding the bargain basement Versa) and segment leading retail ATP according to truecar.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        My comment simply meant that I would expect any maker of autos to follow a pricing stategy that makes logical sense. Sometimes in the course of replacing products prices start to overlap (ex: W-body Impala cheaper in real world than Malibu) but as the line up gets refreshed those things get corrected (ex: I don’t expect the new “super epsilon” Impala to to be cheaper than the refreshed Malibu). This article should have simply been: “Chevy Anounces Spark Pricing” not the misleading headline it was given.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    CAFE is good for all of us, isn’t it? I can see the Cimarron coming back, too.

    Daewoo…I know some cars are better than others, but with the A-segment getting more crowded, let the market decide. Soon, hard realities are going to set in and the OEMs will have to face the fact that there are too many models, regardless of segment, for the market to bear. With standards of living on the wane, might as well downsize wherever possible. I am, for I’m selling our MX5!

  • avatar
    threeer

    And in further news, Chevrolet styles the complete front fenders to be headlights…(or at least pretty darned close).

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Smart move — this will sell a lot of Sonics. Teenagers will come in with their parents to get a Spark for $15K. Mom and Dad will take one look at how small it is, and pay the extra $2K for the Sonic.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      Good point.

    • 0 avatar
      chicago_salt

      This is a very good point, its an old marketing maxim to bring people in the door with a low price model, once they are in the door they think for not much more they can go up to the next model.

      I have a marketing text book that describes how a bread maker machine manufacture who only had one model, then made 3 models, one cheapo below the regular model, and one super deluxe chrome USB GPS gold plated silly luxe model, they sold very little of the low and high models but the regular model they had all along experienced a big sales boost…

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    “Distinctive styling”
    –That’s one way to put it.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Distinctive, my foot, all these small hatchbacks look so much alike that without badges, most people could not tell them apart.

  • avatar
    mcarr

    I’m wondering why they didn’t just use the 100 hp version of the 1.4 in this. At least it would then be as underpowered as the Fiat 500 and Mazda 2.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    Of all the things in the article, the best news is that GM hasn’t set or isn’t releasing a sales target. I bet there is one set, but smart to not release it as it was pretty bad when they didn’t make their target on Volt sales.

  • avatar
    28-cars-later

    Here’s an observation, why is it every other segment on the road anymore gets [inappropriate] 20 in rims and low profile tires, and this segment is still pushing 14in wheels. Maybe there is a physics reason which eludes me, but I find it odd.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I guess performance matters when you have a 1.2 liter engine. The extra weight of big wheels would be perceptible at the gas pumps and every time you try to accelerate. They would also require bigger brakes and ruin the ride quality, not that it isn’t the case any time stylists dictate mechanical components. Perhaps at this price point there is no money to compensate for stupid fashion.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Because big wheels eat a lot of cargo space and have a pile of rotational intertia. In a three-row 5000lb crossover this is not a big deal; in a car that’s as long as a said crossover is wide, with an engine a third of the displacement or less, it’s an issue.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      20 inch rims are a stupid pointless fad. There is absolutely nothing wrong with 14 inch rims. The original Ford Mustang came on 14inch rims. I’ll take the lighter weight and cheaper tires, thank you.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        Agreed Icemilkcoffee. A co-worker just picked up the sport edition Edge and the wheels are as big as the quarterpanels. I have the factory 16in alloys on my GP and aftermarket 15s on my Saturn. I think 16 is about the right size for most cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Actually, 14 inch wheels on a car this size are big. I had a ’62 Buick LeSabre, ’63 Chrysler Newport, and ’65 Chevrolet Impala, and they all had 14 inch wheels. In the ’70s, a car this size (except for weight), the Austin America, ran on 12 inch wheels. As mcarr points out below, the bigger the wheels the more expensive the tire. People buying those 20 inch wagon wheels are going to get a shock when they need replacement rubber. The ones with AWD are going to need to take out a loan to buy a set!

      • 0 avatar
        tankinbeans

        Weren’t the tires themselves on those cars also a lot “puffier” too? I remember being younger than I am, not that there’s much younger to have been, and seeing what looked like a CD in the middle of a sea of black tire, or whitewalls if you were cool that way. I kind of liked that look.

        The 15s on my car look absolutely fine.

      • 0 avatar
        nikita

        Small rims on huge cars was an equally stupid automotive fashion statement in the mid-1950′s to mid-1960′s. 9.50×14 tires so that they could support a 5000lb car. Tiny, poorly cooled brakes were the result. Full wheel covers to further impede cooling, of course.

  • avatar
    dundurrbay

    A good friend of mine drives a Suzuki Swift, a rebadged aveo. It has had a multitude of problems like the power steering pump going at 70,000km (only about 45-50,000 miles!) and a timing belt that broke while the car was still under warranty. Right now he is having problems with the suspension, at just 105,000 km on the clock. The Suzuki dealer here in Thunder Bay is very good to the customers and suprisingly, its right in the heart of the town, Ive read many people say they don’t have a Suzuki dealer within 100 miles of them. Thunder Bay is full of Sukuzis, from SX4s to Veronas (along with the just-as-crappy Chevy Epica). The Suzuki designs have fared well, however, it seems that the Daewoo-Suzukis fare much worse. He was unaware that when he bought the Swift, that it was just a Chevy Aveo. I wish he told me before he bought it!

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    This thing just cries out for the 1.4 turbo engine!

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    GM needed a partner to design and engineer small cars for them world-wide so they got Daewoo, hoping that like H/K they would get their act together and put out good stuff, FAIL!

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Other sites are reporting an entry price of (barely) under 10 grand.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Anyone notice what Spark spells when reversed?

    • 0 avatar
      dejal1

      German?

      Play “Stairway to Heaven” backwards and you get these lyrics

      So here’s to my Sweet Satan.
      The other’s little path
      Would make me sad,
      Whose power is faith.
      He’ll give those with him 666.
      And all the evil fools,
      they know he made
      us suffer sadly.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      Kraps? That’s not necesaarily a bad thing now, right? If you got your money on the field bets….

  • avatar
    nadude

    “Spark is priced under Sonic” this is news? wow. I need a new gig as blogger.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    If only Pontiac were still around…they could rebadge this as the G1.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Well Pontiac did have its own Aveo, I don’t recall what they called it, no matter, same car with Pontiac badges

  • avatar
    jaje

    The car comes with a 1.0 67 hp engine and an optional 1.2 liter 80 engine. No diesel in Europe so wonder if this car sells. If they put in the 1.6 turbo it might be a quick little car.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’ll wait for the 1.8L Cadillac version.

  • avatar
    obruni

    well since there isn’t a nav system, then the pricing structure should be free of a value-killing $2000+ technology package on top of the trim levels.

    the Spark probably won’t offer a moonroof either (not available in other markets)

    on the flip side, A/C will probably not be standard.

    • 0 avatar
      PintoFan

      You’re probably right, but it’s highly unlikely they’ll build more than four or five of them without A/C.

    • 0 avatar
      Volt 230

      But they tell you to close the windows and put on the A/C to get top mileage by avoiding drag, so if there’s no A/C, that theory goes right out the window (no pun intended)

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Car and Driver tested the A/C and windows up myth with an E90 BMW. They got better mileage with the windows down and the A/C off.

        http://www.caranddriver.com/features/gas-pains-mileage-myths-and-misconceptions-turn-off-your-air-conditioner-page-2

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        The actual results will probably also depend on how hard the A/C compressor is working — ie the differential between the incoming air temperature and the requested temperature.

  • avatar
    jeffzekas

    Why can’t GM build a car like this, and sell it for $6,000 to $8,000? Folks will accept cheapness IF the car is priced cheaply. But, once you get near the $15,000 mark, you are talking low-mileage, lightly used Honda Civic.

  • avatar
    28-cars-later

    Speaking of Cimmaron, come soon a Delta II (Cruze, Volt) based Cadillac:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadillac_ELR

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Not gonna happen.

      The Volt isn’t selling well, inventories are high, and GM has stopped production for at least 5 weeks.

      Trying to market a more-expensive version of teh Volt, with less range, would not only increase the losses GM suffers every time they sell one, but would tarnish Cadillac’s image.

      I suspect GM has quietly ditched this project.

  • avatar
    MusicMachine

    Does anyone have the damned MPG figures on this 1.2 wonder? I need to know if it’s a replacement for my ’97 Geo metro (1.3, 4 door, 5 spd.).

  • avatar
    Lynn E.

    Has anyone else visited Los Angeles recently? I parked at the end of a dead end street in a friend’s tiny driveway and later had to back out my Prius half a block before I could turn around.

    If I and everyone else had A segment cars parking would have been easier in LA.

    I don’t know (and neither do BMW/Mini, Fiat/500, Chevy/Spark, Toyota/iQ, or any of you) if the US is ready for A segment cars but I am sure that the manufactures want to be prepared.

  • avatar
    shaker

    This car will sell to the parents of the “25-year-old-living-at-home-waiting-for-that-$100k-job-offer-that-needs-a-car-child.”
    It’s a good fit for a crowded driveway, and will get them to job interviews while keeping the rain off.

  • avatar
    alluster

    The Spark could do well in major metropolis where mini cars are popular and Chevy could use some market share gains in places like NYC, LA, SF, Boston and Seattle. At an estimated 46 MPG highway this would be the most fuel efficient non-hybrid on the market. If the Sonic’s sales success is any indication, the Spark would do just fine. Only wish the styling was a little better if not hip. Looks too much like a Fit with uglier headlamps. Since GM is a part owner of Peugeot now, I wish they brought the Citroen DS3 stateside. Now that would be a Mini and Fiat killer.

    http://www.blogcdn.com/www.luxist.com/media/2010/02/01-citroen-ds3-racing.jpg
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-rbhkMbHRqdE/TdcNzF2rfAI/AAAAAAAABmM/xMaeQk5Opf8/s1600/dst-01.jpg


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