The Chevy Sonic is no more.
Chevrolet has announced that they are killing off the subcompact car. The decision is mostly due to slumping sales. However, discontinuing the Sonic will also make way for the production of new electric vehicles.
The Sonic was first unveiled back in 2011. It was considered a symbol of GM’s “comeback” in the aftermath of the company’s 2009 government-funded bankruptcy restructuring. It was also featured in a 2012 Super Bowl commercial. Maybe you remember watching the Sonic in a skydiving stunt that played out while “We Are Young” by Fun played in the background. Or maybe not.
Now, less than a decade later, GM is discontinuing the Sonic completely. They cited the “declining demand” of the model (and sedans in general) as the primary factor. North American sales of the Sonic peaked at 93,518 in 2015. They have been in steady decline ever since. Sales of the Sonic fell another 32% in 2019. In 2018, Chevy only moved 13,971 units.
Traditional passenger cars have declined in popularity amid low gas prices and shifting consumer preferences for SUVs and pick-up trucks. The sales decrease of the Sonic came despite superior quality ratings. J.D. Power named the Sonic among the “best vehicle in the U.S.” in its 2020 Initial Quality Study, which was released in June 2020.
Subcompacts Are Slowly Disappearing
First introduced as a 2012 vehicle, the Sonic has not been significantly redesigned over the years. As the Sonic grew to be a bit dated, interest slowly waned. The newest 2020 model starts at a base price of $16,720. That’s still an attractive price for anyone shopping for a brand new smaller car.
With the demise of the Sonic, there are only a few subcompact cars remaining. The Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, and Kia Rio are the leaders in the genre. Several other subcompacts have been discontinued in recent years, including the Toyota Yaris, whose demise was announced earlier this year.
GM said its assembly plant in Orion Township, Michigan (where the Sonic is manufactured) will transition to making electric cars. After the Sonic’s production is officially over in October, the factory will produce the Chevy Bolt and its crossover variant.