UPDATED: Chevrolet Sonic Dead In Canada, Report Claims
As our previous story detailed, new car buyers are leaving the passenger car market in droves, so it’s not surprising to see automakers getting up and leaving the party. General Motors capped off 2018 by announcing its intention to drop six car models, leaving the fate of its remaining sedans and hatches in question.
North of the border, it seems a seventh model has disappeared before the other six even got a chance to get their coats and boots on. According to GM Authority, citing multiple sources familiar with GM’s operations, the Chevrolet Sonic’s life has come to an end in Canada. How long will it last in its home country of the United States?
Built at GM’s Orion, Michigan assembly plant alongside the electric Bolt, the Sonic always stood in the sales shadow of its larger sibling, the Cruze. New models shun the ballsier, second-generation 1.4-liter turbo inline-four found in the Cruze, preferring to stick with a naturally aspirated 1.8-liter and first-gen 1.4L. Offered as a rarely-seen sedan or a hatch, the car appeared in 2011 as a 2012 model.
GM Authority claims the model’s discontinuation in Canada isn’t just a rumor (GM Canada has not yet confirmed it), as the model’s sales show a steep decline in the latter months of 2018. November sales north of the border totalled 12. The month before, 37. As well, the company’s Canadian consumer webpage shows no 2019 model, while the American page shows the 2019 model and its modest price increase compared to last year’s model.
It’s worth noting there’s no 2019 Cruze sedan or Malibu found on the Canuck page, either, though buyers can apparently find $3,000 in incentives for the latter model. We’ll update this post if and when we hear back from GM.
Reports last year suggested the Sonic would soon leave Chevy’s lineup, but the appearance of a 2019 U.S. model poured cold water on the issue. While a 2019 model lives on in America, GM’s decision to scrap car nameplates and the overall market trend towards crossovers and trucks leaves its future in serious doubt. Orion’s valuable American plant space is wasted on the Sonic; the facility will likely become home to GM’s future electric car models.
Yesterday’s reporting of fourth-quarter 2018 sales saw the Sonic fell 55.7 percent in the U.S. compared to a year earlier. The model’s 2017 sales were just a third of what they’d been just a few years earlier, and 2018 brought the tally even lower.
Update: Ester Bucci, senior communications manager for GM Canada, confirmed in an email to TTAC that the Sonic will indeed bow out of the Canadian market once 2018 models dry up on lots. “This change will allow Chevrolet to focus our car strategy in areas where there is more customer interest, specifically the Spark in the Small Car segment where we see volume and market share opportunities moving forward,” Bucci wrote.
[Image: General Motors]
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No Sonic in Canada? It's done in the USA.
This is a long-term trend towards utility in vehicles. From at least the 50s through the 80s the 2-door coupe was what was desired - everything was diseinged with 2 doors first and 4 as an afterthought. In the 90s the sedan became prominent and the coupe faded away. Now the sedan is falling away to the similar sized CUV - which has more everyday utility. At current prices, wouldn't you want the most usefulness you can get? Why not a high-riding wagon?