2013 Chevrolet SonicYears ago, the subcompact car market was mostly made up of under-powered, poorly featured little penalty boxes, but over the course of the past decade, this segment has absolutely flourished. Cars like the Honda Fit are something most people would happily drive. And it appears that Chevrolet is really figuring things out with booming popularity from its one-two punch of small models with the Spark and Sonic.

A new analysis from Automotive News finds that Chevy is outselling Toyota, Honda, Ford and Hyundai in the segment and sales are up year-over-year, so far. The Spark is growing 28 percent over last year to 18,591 vehicles from January through May, and the Sonic is up 8 percent to 40,672 cars sold in that time. Last year, the Spark also beat forecasts for its first 12 months on sale after introduction by 35 percent.

Why? First, people actually want them. Both cars are available with high tech features like Chevy's MyLink infotainment system with Siri. Second, they fill two gaps in the subcompact market. The Spark is a tiny urban commuter for people who only want basic transportation. That allows the slightly larger and more powerful Sonic to be a bit sportier and more luxurious, especially with its RS and Dusk models. According to AN, the differentiation means discounts are less necessary on the Sonic because a cheaper alternative is already in the showroom for buyers.

The Bowtie appears eager to capitalize on this tiny vehicle success, too. The Chevy Trax, riding on the same platform and with the Sonic's 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, is coming to the US market in the near future to offer a third model in the class. The next-generation Spark was also already spotted testing with a redesigned face in Europe, for a rumored 2015 debut. The same scuttlebutt pegged the next Sonic for a likely 2016 introduction. The company definitely appears poised to grow in the diminutive segment.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 120 Comments
      ChaosphereIX
      • 6 Months Ago
      I have no idea how, we barely sell any at our store. Cruze, yes those sell like crazy. But the other two...no.
      Tariff The Imports
      • 6 Months Ago
      Does the Sonic come with brake pads? Or it an option? Great Quality Assurance GM. The article title should read GM Outpaces Toyota, Honda and Ford in sales to morons.
      Revis Goodworth
      • 6 Months Ago
      Both vehicles have more usable rear seat room than a Chevrolet Camry, er, Malibore. So let's see - Government Motors leads in an unprofitable segment, botches the most important ones in the family sedan and full-sized truck market, and this is good? Did I mention that the Chevrolet SS still hasn't sold (in total) enough units to equal the artificial monthly sales ceiling it imposed on the product. It would take 1600 units sold to do that - talk about total failure!
        FuelToTheFire
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Revis Goodworth
        "Malibore"? That was brilliant! Did you come up with that all by yourself? Or did the nice lady at the front of the short bus help you out?
          bootsnchaps60
          • 6 Months Ago
          @FuelToTheFire
          Actually I've been calling it that for years but didn't post it! Glad it was shared!
      • 6 Months Ago
      [blocked]
        Rotation
        • 6 Months Ago
        I wish. I seem to end up with a Yaris or the cheapest Chrysler ever made when I go to a rental agency.
        mycommentemail
        • 6 Months Ago
        I wound up with a Sonic as a rental car from Hertz... and that was a good thing. Because I liked the car so much I went out and bought one a month later (except a hatchback, turbo, 6 speed manual version). So some sales to rental agencies are a good thing.
        Alfonso T. Alvarez
        • 6 Months Ago
        ... Hertz, Avis . . . " are full of Toyota's, Hyundai's and Kia's - did your keyboard break before you could finish?
          SlothLovesChunk
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          Sorry, GM salesman. GM and Chrysler have the highest fleet ratios of all the manufacturers.
          montoym
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          As domestic automakers, I think that's to be expected. I wouldn't go to Germany an expect a fleet of Chevy's or Fords awaiting me at the rental car agency. More likely, they'd probably be Opels or VW's. Not sure why anyone would expect anything different.
      gregmlr
      • 6 Months Ago
      The Sonic doesn't even come with a CD player as standard equipment. Oh but let's include OnStar which has an annual fee.
        SpacemanSpiff
        • 6 Months Ago
        @gregmlr
        And I haven't owned a CD to put in one in over a decade. No more fumbling with bulky cases while driving, switching discs just to hear a different artist, worrying about them getting warped in the heat or stolen by some lowlife. Good riddance! And I'm sure the car still drives fine when you stop paying for the OnStar.
        mbukukanyau
        • 6 Months Ago
        @gregmlr
        CD? What is that?
        mycommentemail
        • 6 Months Ago
        @gregmlr
        And if you decide not to use OnStar, then you... wait for it... stop paying for it. At which time it no longer "includes" OnStar and no longer has an "annual fee". Amazing what they can do with technology these days. As for a CD player... I think I remember those. Had something to do with plastic slabs that only held a single album at a time, right? If you wanted to listen to something else you actually had to eject one and then fumble around on the floor for yet another one, right? Whatever, I'll just go back to listening to my 64GB of music on a thumb drive plugged directly into the USB port on my car while you take your afternoon nap gramps.
        PlanB
        • 6 Months Ago
        @gregmlr
        Doesn't have a tape deck either, I mean really, my mom was really upset about that one!!! Seriously dude CD players are being dropped a lot more now, get used to it. The world is moving towards downloading and streaming whether you like it or not.
      Tariff The Imports
      • 6 Months Ago
      Fire Sale! Next to nothing, if anything down, low payments, insane cash on hood is how you move subpar, err subcompact Chevys.
        Billy Farmer
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Tariff The Imports
        someone didn't read the story . Both cars are available with high tech features like Chevy's MyLink infotainment system with Siri. Second, they fill two gaps in the subcompact market. The Spark is a tiny urban commuter for people who only want basic transportation. That allows the slightly larger and more powerful Sonic to be a bit sportier and more luxurious, especially with its RS and Dusk models. According to AN, the differentiation means discounts are less necessary on the Sonic because a cheaper alternative is already in the showroom for buyers.
      eli
      • 6 Months Ago
      Rather push a ford, than die in a chevy.
        187fl
        • 6 Months Ago
        @eli
        Ford has had its shares of wrong doing, along with many other major companies. Look up, Ford paint dump in New Jersey from the 60s 70s as well as the Explorer debacle. Most large companies best interests are always their profits and not the consumer. When that happens, you end up with situations like these.
      mycommentemail
      • 6 Months Ago
      I'm not surprised. I am a lifetime import driver. Mostly German cars actually. But when my old 3 series broke down (again) late last year I wound up renting a Sonic for the weekend. For a few moments I had my knee jerk "what a POS" reaction based on the size of the car and the badge up front. But by the end of the weekend, driving through some twisty roads in northern California, I was kind of hooked. Fast forward one month and I was the proud owner of a brand new Sonic LTZ hatchback with the 1.4L turbo and 6 speed manual. For its size and class, it is a really zippy, fun car that feels tight and planted through the city and on back country roads. I love it. I have always said with some nervousness that if the domestics built a decent small car that I would seriously consider buying one. I am happy that I wasn't just blowing hot air and could actually make good on that promise. And I am really surprised at how much better the Sonic was (for me) than most of the competition. Faster, safer, quieter, and better mpg than the Honda Fit. Bigger and (in my view) better looking than the Ford fiesta. Better handling than either of the Korean twins (kia, hyundai). The only car that I would have rather had in that "class" would have been a Golf... but in reality the Golf is the next segment up and, as such, is much more expensive (and gets way worse mpg). I am still shocked to this day that I am happily driving, not only a domestic car, but one with a bow-tie on the front. Times have changed, and this is a really worthy competitor in its class. ** BTW - to all the haters and trolls: This is what is known as an "opinion". Look it up in the dictionary if you are confused. I have mine. You have yours. And believe it or not, they don't have to match.
        Basil Exposition
        • 6 Months Ago
        @mycommentemail
        To all the people who constantly harp on about how rental fleet sales are worse than no sales at all - read the above. This happens a lot more than you might think, especially for marks and segments that are stigmatized like Chevy and subcompact. Sometimes the only way folks will give something a chance is if they are forced to. If the product is good enough, rental cars are a way to turn competitor loyalists into potential buyers.
          montoym
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Basil Exposition
          It's especially true now that not all rentals are stripped-out models. My friend was in town for the weekend a few months back and she had a brand-new (50miles on the odo) Ford Fusion Titanium as a rental. Around my office as well, when I see rentals around for people visiting us, the cars they have are typically at least mid level trim-wise.
      D23
      • 6 Months Ago
      "Find new roads" off the pavement, let's say a tree a sucker is born every minute
        mycommentemail
        • 6 Months Ago
        @D23
        Ok: "a tree a sucker is born every minute" um... I still don't get it. What was supposed to happen when I said it? What does it even mean? Was the punctuation fairy supposed to show up and fix the original comment? What? I'm confused.
      Jesus!
      • 6 Months Ago
      I see quite a few of these in my suburb. Not bad looking.
      George Strickland
      • 6 Months Ago
      it really pisses off a lot of un-American jap lovers and jap car salesmen that general motors is doing so well,they used to give the small car market to the japs while mostly depending on trucks for profit,now they are showing that they can build great cars as well,if gm recalls vehicles they are all over them for recalls but if a jap company recalls vehicles they get a free pass,i would rather have a vehicle that needs a new ignition switch than a vehicle that has air bags that explode with such force that it kills people with fragments from the steering column .
        MZR2.3
        • 6 Months Ago
        @George Strickland
        I'd rather have a reliable vehicle not put together by union labor regardless of which country the company HQ resides. Most people who buy subcompacts go for the cheapest thing they can. That's why GM is outpacing them.
          montoym
          • 6 Months Ago
          @MZR2.3
          quote from MZR2.3 - "Most people who buy subcompacts go for the cheapest thing they can. That's why GM is outpacing them." - Hmm, weird, because some of the most popular models in the segment are far from the cheapest. Additionally, if that's the case, why isn't the Nissan Versa (minus the more expensive Note) the best selling subcompact? It is the cheapest new car available in the US starting at $11,990. Cost is all that matters according to you right? Or, I guess it only matters when you want to find a way to bash GM for having competitive offerings in a class. For the record, the Sonic starts at around $14k, right in line with the Mazda 2, Ford Fiesta, Nissan Versa Note, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio etc. It's not as though the Sonic is dramatically cheaper than the others owing to its sales success. As far as the Spark, it is quite a bit cheaper than the Sonic (starting at $12,170), but it sells in far less volume than the Sonic, which additionally undermines your argument. If all people want is cheap, then the Spark should be Chevy's best seller by your account.
          mycommentemail
          • 6 Months Ago
          @MZR2.3
          My Sonic is my first domestic car. So far I love it. But one thing that actually drew me to it even more (as in: icing on the cake, not a reason to buy by itself) was the fact that it was built in my home state with union labor. So, each to his or her own I guess, right?
          Alfonso T. Alvarez
          • 6 Months Ago
          @MZR2.3
          You do realize, right, that every other vehicle in the segment is built outside of the US, with UNION LABOR?
        Billy Farmer
        • 6 Months Ago
        @George Strickland
        this is true
        calitokansas28
        • 6 Months Ago
        @George Strickland
        Describe un American? America has all types of nationalities they can choose whatever they like. Even if they buy this so called un American Japanese car.
      ffelix422
      • 6 Months Ago
      The headline did say Chevy, (i.e. GM)? Well I think we all know how this ends...
        mycommentemail
        • 6 Months Ago
        @ffelix422
        You go out and smell the roses and enjoy the company of other human beings?
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