Quick! When you think of Comic Con — “the biggest and most exciting popular culture convention on the East Coast” — which automaker springs immediately to mind? Still thinking? Follow the jump for the answer you might not be expecting. Continue Reading →
The hassles of urban life often conflict with car ownership; finding and affording a parking spot, and the ability to make monthly payments are chief among them. Assuming no financial obligation, however, cars best-suited for the city are light, chuckable, and fit in tight parking spaces. Enter the 2013 Chevrolet Spark: General Motors’ answer to the likes of the Smart Fortwo, Scion iQ and Fiat 500. On Tuesday, Autosavant had the chance to put Chevy’s newest minicar through its paces in New York City, its natural environment.
Of all the cars to have recently attracted the scorn of the motoring press, the hapless Chevy Aveo was right up there with the Pontiac Aztek, if not quite in the same stratosphere of opprobrium as the peerless Yugo. I rented an Aveo once, and have completely forgotten what the driving experience was like, although I believe it extended over several days and across three or four Midwestern states, sufficient indication in itself of automotive insignificance. Well, the Aveo is history, unless you’re desperate for some really cheap wheels fresh off the used-rental lot, which is where you’re likely to find your average pre-owned model. But I’d skip it, because there’s good news in the affordable-car realm, and its name is Chevrolet Sonic.
By Carl Malek
General Motors once had plans to bring the upcoming Sonic small car to the market as the next-generation Aveo. However, after extensive evaluation, and perhaps looking back at the Aveo’s rather tepid sales numbers, GM reconsidered. The company decided that the name was not worth reusing and shelved it in favor of Sonic. However one problem arose from this decision, and that was the fate of the performance version of the Sonic. General Motors had already unveiled the Aveo RS concept at the 2010 North American International Autoshow, but would then not mention the fate of the performance variant after the switch from Aveo to Sonic was made. Since that time, many in the automotive world speculated that the Aveo RS would survive the name change and go into production as the Sonic RS but no official word or confimration had been released.
By Charles Krome
Some time later this year, the folks at GM’s Orion Assembly plant, located in Orion Township, Mich., will start putting together the all-new Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano. It will mark a significant change in the General’s usual strategy of building its small cars in other countries with reputations for low labor costs, but that’s because it marks a significant change in the UAW’s usual strategy, too. As some readers may already know, as part of its efforts to support GM’s recovery from bankruptcy, the union agreed to institute a two-tier wage scale at the plant. While veteran workers will continue to earn their usual salaries, newcomers will be hired in at pay rates some 40 percent lower.
And now the Detroit media are reporting that the UAW will consider extending the two-tier system to other GM plants, again in return for the promise of more jobs. It’s just the latest news about what this fall’s union negotiations with the Detroit Three will likely bring, but it’s also one of the few areas in which the UAW is expected to cut the OEMs some slack.
By Charles Krome
There was a lot of hub-bub when Chevrolet originally announced it was changing the name of its Aveo subcompact to the Sonic, but after seeing the latter introduced at the North American International Auto Show, it’s starting to make a bit more sense.
The 2012 Sonic takes a notably more aggressive approach to the subcompact segment, with a relatively dynamic powertrain/suspension setup and, in the hatch, a notable nod to the look of the VW Golf/GTI. I’ll get to the design details in a moment, but first, here are some of the Sonic features that Chevy is counting on to help make people forget about the Aveo.
By Charles Krome
Our head savant did a nice job detailing the General’s name game with the Chevrolet Aveo, but I wanted to get my pair of pennies in, too. (Also, I had already written this over the weekend, before I saw his article.)
My starting point is Chris’ comment about how the current Aveo is “not a horrible car”—because that certainly applies to where it sits in the sales standings.
Let’s do a bit of a blind test on some key players in the subcompact segment, shall we? First, here are the year-to-date numbers from three mainstream entries:
By Chris Haak
One doesn’t need to dig very deeply into the history books to see that GM has shown a pattern of releasing a vehicle that – to put it kindly – did not meet expectations, only to replace that vehicle with a new model after that generation. According to the pattern, the new vehicle gets a new name as well, even if it’s filling in almost exactly the same position in the market.
Though this phenomenon is not limited to Chevrolet small cars, let’s take a look at them specifically. The Vega hit the scene in 1971 (one generation only), followed by its Monza derivative in 1975 (one generation only). Then the Cavalier hit the market in 1982 (which saw two LONG generations), the Cobalt in 2005 (one generation), and the Cruze in 2011. Since 1969, Toyota has never changed the name of its car in this class: you may have heard of it. It’s called the Corolla.
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