By on May 3, 2018

2017 Chevrolet Sonic - Image: Chevrolet

Here today, gone tomorrow, back the next day. That’s basically the recent history of the Chevrolet Sonic, which formed the basis of a Wall Street Journal report earlier this spring. Chevrolet’s subcompact hatch and sedan could end production by the end of the year, the report stated, and the model’s subsequent disappearance from a 2019 model year California Air Resources Board certification document only added fuel to the rumor fire.

We reached out to GM about the Sonic’s CARB vanishing act, but never heard back. Now, the Michigan-built model has reappeared, promising a 2019 model year model for subcompact buyers.

An updated emissions document, dated April 30th, shows both sedan and hatch variants of the Sonic listed alongside other 1.4-liter GM models, including the all-wheel-drive Chevrolet Trax missing from the earlier doc.

The Sonic shares factory space with the Chevrolet Bolt at GM’s Orion Assembly plant. It’s believed GM wants that space for the production of Bolt variants and perhaps other electric models, as well as autonomous cars. The automaker recently invested $100 million to support next year’s production of the Cruise AV — essentially a Bolt without a steering wheel.

While the WSJ report could indeed prove true, GM remains tight-lipped as to the model’s future. It could easily stop production at the end of the year, allowing for a run of 2019 models, or continue onward until its assembly space becomes too valuable for a low-margin vehicle.

Last year, Sonic sales in the U.S. dropped to less than a third of the model’s 2014 volume of 93,518 vehicles. We don’t have a tally for last month; blame GM’s decision to switch to quarterly sales reports. The first quarter of 2018, however, saw the Sonic drop 21.5 percent compared to Q1 2017.

[Image: General Motors]

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18 Comments on “Chevrolet Sonic Stages a Reappearance for 2019...”

  • avatar

    Speaking of the Sonic, whatever happened to Caroline Ellis?

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    I cringe when I see a very small car with children in the back seat, their heads inches from the rear window, followed closely by a larger vehicle. I prefer a car large enough for self-defense but small enough for easy maneuverability in urban parking lots.

    Small lightweight vehicles have an inherent safety disadvantage. Crash tests confirm that when a smaller vehicle collides with a larger one or a fixed object the former’s occupants are significantly more likely to be seriously injured or killed. The smaller car’s crumple zones cannot absorb sufficient energy.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      1. E=MC” Less mass = Less energy needing to be absorbed. Heavy vehicles usually push small vehicle causing less damage to both vehicles.
      2.Each small car performs differently on crash tests. YOU CAN’T LUMP THEM ALL IN TOGETHER.
      3.The Chevy Sonic is sold in Europe as the Opel Karl. If its good enough for the autobahn, it’s good enough for me.

      • 0 avatar

        Correction. When a heavy vehicle hits a light one head on, the smaller vehicle does move more, but in a REVERSE direction. Hence 30 mph forward may become 20 mph in advance. The difference here is now 50 mph, which means the energy to be absorbed is (per your equation) 50 mph SQUARED. This is an enormous force and will cause horrendous injury to occupants.

        • 0 avatar
          Peter Gazis


          No the car is moving backwards. You are going face first into an airbag at 30mph
          As long as the passenger compartment is intact there’s a good chance you will walk away with a few cuts, bruises and cracked ribs from the seatbelt.

    • 0 avatar

      You would prefer them to ride in an older, larger vehicle with 200K plus miles, sketchy brakes, bald tires, and worn out suspension?

      Smaller vehicles and sedans are lower cost new and lower cost used. Move to SUV’s and larger vehicles decreases affordability as transaction prices exceed the reach of lower middle class and poor.

      • 0 avatar

        I have no preferences for other people’s vehicles. But the laws of physics hold for all cars. Make your own decisions, but NOT based upon false assumptions.

  • avatar

    There’s a logical explanation here and it has to do with the simple fact that Ford is dropping ALL of its car-based lines; going to UVs instead. This suddenly opens GM up to a near-abandoned market, at least by its American competitors, for those who choose to only buy American brands (even if one is no longer strictly American.)

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis


      GMs Orion Lakes Michigan factory can’t survive building only Bolts. Demand is growing, but not fast enough to keep the factory alive. I’m suprized no one in the automotive press picked up on that.
      GM was waiting to see how the South Korean situation would turn out before making any final decision on the Sonic.

      Nothing to do with Ford. The Fiesta only accounts for 12% of the Sub-compact/city car market. My guess is most buyers will switch to the Ecosport instead.

  • avatar

    I have to wonder if GM is hedging it’s bets due to a) Ford dropping sedans, and b) the mpg future requirements not being relaxed due to state/federal infighting.

  • avatar

    If I were GM I’d keep it around.

    It’s a blast to drive, good on gas, and now, is about to become the only U.S. marque subcompact on the market. Plus it helps amortize the costs of its platform mate Trax/Encore.

  • avatar


    I tend to agree with you on point “b”. There are enough Federal Court judges ready to jump in and legislate from the bench even if Trump can find somebody who can stay in the EPA for more than a month.

    It seems that Ford won’t be able to play that card. I don’t even hear anything from them about 48V “mild” hybrids.

  • avatar
    Dan R

    Is this the old one or the new one?

  • avatar

    Wow for once GM is getting smart. I love the lil hatch back.

  • avatar

    For a moment there I had hope that we’d get the correct class size car from rental companies when we reserve them, but apparently that will have to wait at least another year.

  • avatar

    That’s great news. I love my little Sonic hatchback and despite being a seven year old design, still holds its own against its competitors.

    Compared to their previous subcompact offerings, GM really tried hard on this one to make a fun, livable, and quirky little car

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