With each passing day, it becomes increasingly more apparent that the Chevrolet Sonic will be discontinued in the near future. Exact timelines for the model’s discontinuation are currently unclear, but sources tell GM Authority not to expect the subcompact vehicle range to live on past the 2021 model year, if not before that.
Available in four-door sedan and five-door hatchback body styles, the Sonic is one of three remaining passenger cars offered by the Bow Tie brand, after it discontinued the Cruze compact car range and Impala full-size sedan. As of this writing, Chevy’s other two remaining passenger cars are the Spark and Malibu.
“The Sonic remains in our line-up and we haven’t announced anything related to its future,” Chevrolet cars and crossovers communications director, Kevin Kelly, told GM Authority in a statement back in May.
Once Sonic production ends at the GM Lake Orion plant near Detroit, the newfound assembly capacity will be transferred to the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt EUV. The Bolt EUV will be a slightly larger version of the Chevrolet Bolt EV crossover, also produced at the Lake Orion facility.
Sources tell GM Authority that the plant started the 2020 calendar year producing the Sonic at increased levels in order to shore up inventory once production comes to an end.
Initially introduced for the 2012 model year to replace Aveo, the Chevrolet Sonic went on sale in August 2011. According to the GM Authority data center, U.S. Chevy Sonic sales totaled 81,247 units in 2012 and 85,646 units in 2013. The model’s best year was 2014, when it saw 93,518 deliveries.
Things have been in a downward spiral ever since, with 30,290 units delivered in 2017, 20,613 units in 2018 and a mere 13,971 units in 2019 for its lowest yearly sales performance in history. The 2020 calendar year is trending to be about the same as 2019 volumes.
The Sonic has already been discontinued in all markets outside the United States. It was first dropped in Latin America, where it was replaced by lower-cost models including the Onix, Cobalt, and Cavalier (depending on market). Subsequently, the Sonic was dropped in Africa, South Korea, as well as Australia and New Zealand (where it was sold as the Holden Barina). Most recently, the Sonic was discontinued in Canada. In fact, the U.S. is the only remaining market where the Sonic remains on sale.
Chevy gave the Sonic family a midcycle enhancement (MCE / refresh) for the 2017 model year that consisted of updated front and rear facias and a few updates to the interior. Inspired by the second-generation Chevrolet Spark, the refresh was often criticized for eliminating the playful character and charm of the original, pre-facelift model.
If the 2021 model year becomes the last for the Sonic, then it will have lived quite a lengthy life spanning ten years.
No Replacement Planned
No replacement for the Sonic is currently planned, though GM theoretically could change that by bringing the Chevrolet Onix to the U.S. and Canada. Having quickly risen to become the best-selling automobile in South America, the Onix was only recently overhauled atop the new Global Emerging Markets (GEM) platform. As of this writing, the all-new model is made at the following plants:
Currently, vehicles on the GEM platform are not sold in the U.S. and Canada, being reserved only for Mexico, countries in Central and South America, and China.