This is the latest alleged entry onto GM’s culling of passenger cars.
As Cadillac announced it would not kill the CT6, new reports have surfaced that the Chevrolet Sonic may take its place on the list. According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, GM may axe sales of the Sonic in the U.S. market.
That’s not terribly surprising, given the recent shift in the market (and GM’s priorities). Crossovers rule, and for them to rule small cars like the Sonic, and indeed several other cars in the company’s lineup, will be consigned to the history books. This car represents the Chevrolet brand’s compact entry between the diminutive Spark and the Cruze. Not coincidentally, the Cruze is also on GM’s radar to discontinue production in 2019.
All of this is happening according to sources familiar with the matter. When Autoblog asked for comment, a GM spokesperson responded that, “We have not announced any plans to discontinue the Sonic in the U.S.” While they haven’t announced it yet, the company did not rule it out either. The Sonic hasn’t been a resounding sales success of late. In 2018, Chevrolet shifted just 20,613 examples of the Sonic — less than a quarter of the volume they were able to move five years ago.
What will happen to the Orion Plant?
When GM decided to idle five North American production plants, the “dead cars” list came about because those were the cars GM produced at those plants. The Chevrolet Cruze, Volt and Impala, the Buick LaCrosse, and the Cadillac XTS (formerly the CT6 as well) were on that list. Now, GM builds the Chevrolet Sonic at its Orion Assembly plant in Michigan. They also build the all-electric Bolt there, and it’s a base for GM subsidiary Cruise’s autonomous vehicles.
As such, this shouldn’t shutter the plant. However, Autoblog also pointed out that Orion is operating way under its capacity. As it stands, the plant is running at just 34 percent of its potential annual output. If Chevrolet does indeed drop the Sonic, then that leaves GM with a bigger underutilization problem.
It’s worth mentioning again that Chevrolet has not yet confirmed the Sonic will end production. Signs are not exactly encouraging, though. The Sonic has soldiered on for seven years without a major redesign.
Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for further updates.