Youth Appeal: 2012 Chevrolet Sonic
The market for first time new car buyers remains fairly the same, but with one interesting twist: buyers want cars that are well-equipped, not stripped.
Gone are the days when air-conditioning, power windows, reclining bucket seats and a stereo system were options if there were available at all. Today’s car buyers may prefer a small car, but they want big car amenities including Bluetooth connectivity, available navigation system, supportive seats, leading safety features and great fuel mileage.
Today’s cohort of subcompact cars is geared to the youthful driver such as twenty-something college students and recent college grads who have started their careers and need cheap and affordable transportation. Cheap does not mean tons of plastic either – soft touch materials and amazing seating surfaces are of interest to them.
GM is targeting college students and young professionals with a subcompact car designed by its Korean production arm, GM Daewoo, but will be built in Michigan when it goes on sale later in 2011. The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic replaces the subcompact Aveo, itself imported from South Korea, but bearing a name hard to pronounce or remember.
The new Sonic is powered by a fuel efficient 1.8-liter four cylinder engine and will offer an optional 1.4-liter turbocharged motor. If this engine line up sounds familiar it is: the compact Chevrolet Cruze offers both, in a slightly larger and more expensive package.
And that is the appeal of the Sonic: give the buyer what can be found in a larger model, but charge them a small car price. Though GM has yet to firm up price, its reasonable to assume that standard models will retail for about $15,000, which is the price its chief competitors the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit and Hyundai Accent command.
Two body styles will be offered: a sedan and a hatchback. At the 2011 North American Internationl Auto Show in Detroit, those models plus a sporty concept were put on display. Likely, the concept will become a reality at some point, a hatchback with coordinated striping and color schemes on the grille, hood, roof, wheels and rear deck.
Both models offer seating for five passengers and includes standard electronic power steering and StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover sensing. This model also features OnStar with turn-by-turn navigation, providing buyers with a six-month renewable subscription. Of significance are amenities generally not found in this segment including a sunroof, remote start capability and heated front seats. Chevrolet will include 10 airbags which also is an uncommonly generous number for a subcompact car.
Will buyers flock to the Sonic? Maybe. Now that the model has a much more memorable name and gains important feature any new car buyer wants and offers them at a rock-bottom price, this model just may find its way into the driveways of many young drivers.
Source: General Motors Company