By on March 22, 2019

2017 Chevrolet Bolt - Image: Chevrolet

In the same week Ford Motor Company announced a battery-electric product surge bound for a Michigan assembly plant, General Motors looks ready to announce the same. Coincidence?

Media reports suggest we’ll have an announcement from GM on its Orion Assembly facility by the end of the day. (Read More…)

By on January 21, 2019

2017 Nissan Versa Note - Image: NissanAmerica’s demand for subcompact cars tumbled 26 percent in 2018, yet another result that points to the eventual demise of all but a few B-segment cars.

2018’s sharp drop – equal to roughly 94,000 fewer sales in the core eight-car subcompact category – follows an equally harsh decline in 2017, when the segment lost more than 95,000 units. Led by a sharp reduction in sales of the top-selling Nissan Versa and year-over-year percentage declines of more than 29 per cent for the Chevrolet Sonic, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, Toyota Prius C, and Toyota Yaris, the category’s volume has fallen 48 percent since 2014.

And before you say, “Well, cars are all unpopular these days,” keep 2018’s five million-plus car buyers in mind. Car buyers do, in fact, still exist.

But subcompact car buyers are disappearing much, much faster than car buyers at large. And it may well be because the product execution of subcompact cars is really rather poor.  (Read More…)

By on January 4, 2019

2017 Chevrolet Sonic - Image: Chevrolet

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? (Read More…)

By on July 6, 2018

2017 Chevrolet Sonic

Chevrolet’s little Sonic hatchback and sedan, built alongside the electric Bolt at General Motors’ Orion Assembly Plant, will return for the 2019 model year with a notable powertrain change. We already knew a 2019 version of the Sonic — rumored to be on the chopping block — was a go (thanks to California Air Resources Board certification docs), but the contents of an order guide now show greater standard torque than the 2018 model.

Notice we said torque, not horsepower.  (Read More…)

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. (Read More…)

By on April 4, 2018

2017 Chevrolet Sonic

If a report by the Wall Street Journal ends up being true, General Motors will soon have an awfully lonely assembly plant on the edge of the Detroit suburbs. Sources familiar with GM’s product plans tell the publication the subcompact Chevrolet Sonic hatchback and sedan might be killed off as early as this year.

Small in size and powered by a brace of gas-sipping four-cylinders, the Sonic hit the market in late 2011. The model, produced at Orion Assembly in Michigan, came to be in the wake of the recession, offering buyers affordability and frugality with a “Made in America” stamp. In the ensuing years, however, buyers began moving on — and up — from small economy cars. (Read More…)

By on July 18, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Sonic - Image: ChevroletAmerican car buyers are increasingly turning their backs on subcompact cars.

During the first six months of 2017, the subcompact car losing the greatest number of sales is the Nissan Versa, which is suffering as Nissan realigns its dealer strategy to emphasize certified pre-owned cars.

But the subcompact car losing the second-highest number of sales is the Chevrolet Sonic, which has declined 37 percent this year (for a 10,334-unit decrease). In a continued attempt to dramatically reduce Sonic inventory — GM had a 159-day supply at the beginning of June; a 43-day supply at the beginning of July — GM is extending the scheduled plant shutdown at the Chevrolet Sonic’s Orion Township assembly plant north of Detroit, Michigan.

There are side effects from such a shutdown, an aftertaste following the swallowing of a bitter pill, spin-offs from a show nobody was watching to begin with. (Read More…)

By on November 2, 2016

2017 Chrysler 200C Platinum

Thom writes:

Hi Bark,

Your RC F article got me wondering: what are some of the cars out there you think are actually good, enjoyable cars that get crapped on for no good reason other than inherent bias and/or groupthink in the automotive world?

I always wonder what’s out there that’s actually decent, if not outright good, that everyone seems to think is garbage. (Notwithstanding that sometimes everyone thinks a car is garbage because it actually is.)

This is gonna be fun.

(Read More…)

By on June 2, 2016

2016 chevrolet impala

Summer’s here, and it’s never been a better time to please, please buy one of our cars, General Motors wants buyers to know.

The automaker plans to roll out a host of incentives during the month of June, Automotive News reports, to make up for a month that saw combined sales at all of its divisions sink 18 percent year-over-year. (Read More…)

By on May 10, 2016

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Something electric could be brewing at General Motors, and we’re not talking about just the Chevrolet Bolt.

John Rosevear at the Motley Fool has an interesting take on what the future holds for Orion Assembly (the Michigan facility tapped to produce the Bolt this fall), and why GM seems to be keeping other models away from the plant. (Read More…)

By on May 9, 2016

Chevrolet Small Cars

The official launch of the first-generation Chevrolet Spark played out like a detective in a comedy film who has to go undercover in a high school, all the while clumsily pretending to be hip.  It was an awkward pander to the Millennial first-time car buyer, set to too-carefully chosen music.

With refreshed and updated small car models on their way (or already here), General Motors wants young people to rediscover their often overlooked bottom-rung vehicles, so it left the marketing to experts. (Read More…)

By on March 18, 2016

2017 Chevrolet Sonic

Its bigger brother is getting a whole new body, but the Chevrolet Sonic isn’t going into 2017 without some changes of its own.

The subcompact hatchback and sedan will get its first facelift since debuting alongside its compact sibling for the 2011 model year, swapping its aggressive grille and headlamps for a toned-down, corporate face reminiscent of the upcoming Bolt. (Read More…)

By on April 24, 2015

Chevrolet Sonic sales chart

GM’s share of America’s subcompact segment fell below 10% in the first-quarter of 2015 as Chevrolet Sonic volume tumbled 53%, year-over-year.

As a whole, the subcompact category is in decline in early 2015, but a large part of the category’s 9% drop can be attributed to the Sonic. Sales of the Sonic decreased by nearly 13,000 units over the last three months. (Read More…)

By on February 9, 2015

20150128_174550 (1)

I haven’t owned an American car since 1992, but it’s been over 35 years since I’ve even driven a ChevroletIn 1979, my husband bought himself a Caprice, with the biggest V8 engine available. Usually, we owned Chryslers, Dodges and once, a green V8 Mustang, like the one Steve McQueen drove in Bullitt. There was also a Mercury Sable and a Ford Escort – a compact car that was probably smaller than the Chevrolet Sonic I rented in Florida.

(Read More…)

By on February 6, 2015

General Motors CEO Barra and Batey President of GM North America pose next to the Chevrolet Bolt EV electric concept car after it was unveiled during the first press preview day of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit

 

Chevrolet’s Bolt EV will go into production in 2016, along with an Opel variant.

(Read More…)

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