We’ve all seen the headlines: Ford Motor Company has made the call to all but exit the North American car market over the next several years, focusing more intently on trucks, crossovers, and SUVs. Rumor has it that General Motors has been weighing a similar move, as consumers continue to flock to utility vehicles in droves.
The latest indicator that it might be time for General Motors to shrink – if not terminate – its portfolio of conventional car models in North America: U.S. Chevrolet Sonic sales have been absolutely abysmal this year. Throughout the second quarter of this year, Chevrolet Sonic sales stood at just 4,582 units in the U.S. – an average of just 50 cars per day. They were down more than 55 percent of where they were during Q2 2017, and the figures are enough to put the Sonic solidly in last place in the U.S. subcompact market.
The best-selling car in the segment – the Nissan Versa – sold more than quadruple the number of cars. The Honda Fit, and even the Ford Fiesta, had roughly triple the sales of the Sonic in the second quarter.
Sales Numbers - Subcompact Mainstream Cars - Q2 2018 - United States
|MODEL||Q2 18 / Q2 17||Q2 18||Q2 17||YTD 18 / YTD 17||YTD 18||YTD 17|
There’s not much incentive to keep investing in a model that’s currently moving less than a fifth of the units it once did, especially when its 2014 peak wasn’t all that high to begin with, at 93,518 units. For comparison, at its peak in 2001, the Chevrolet Silverado sold 716,051 units, and boasted a fatter margin, to boot.
It was already reported in April that the Sonic would likely exit production soon, possibly as early as this year. Those folks hoping for an eleventh-hour rally in Chevrolet Sonic sales that might buy the subcompact some more time are going to be sorely disappointed.
About Chevrolet Sonic
The Chevrolet Sonic is a subcompact family of vehicles that include a four-door sedan and five-door hatchback. Having replaced the Aveo in the Chevrolet lineup, the Sonic is currently Chevrolet’s second-smallest car, slotting above the Chevrolet Spark city car but below the compact Chevrolet Cruze, midsize Chevrolet Malibu and full-size Chevrolet Impala.
The current model was introduced for the 2012 model year and represents the first generation of the Sonic nameplate. The model rides on the GM Gamma platform shared with the Chevrolet Trax and Buick Encore.
The model was given a midcycle refresh for the 2017 model year. The 2018 Chevy Sonic represents the sixth model year of the first-generation Sonic. The vehicle remains highly competitive in its segment and the 2018 model year brings a handful of changes, including a new exterior color, a change to the Sun and Sound Package, and the standardization of the seven-inch diagonal color touchscreen. For the 2019 model year, the Sonic gained one new exterior color (while losing two other colors), the removal of the base 1.8L naturally-aspirated Ecotec engine, and several other minor equipment-level changes.
A March 2017 rumor stated that GM would discontinue the Sonic as soon as 2018. As of this writing, it’s unclear whether or not the nameplate will see a second generation.
The Sonic is assembled at the following plants:
- GM Lake Orion plant in Orion Township, Michigan, USA operated by GM USA
- GM Bupyeong plant in South Korea operated by GM Korea
- GM Cairo plant in Egypt operated by GM Egypt
- GM Hanoi plant in Vietnam operated by GM Vietnam