State Of The Auto Industry: Chevy Trax Vs. Sonic

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Thread: State Of The Auto Industry: Chevy Trax Vs. Sonic

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    State Of The Auto Industry: Chevy Trax Vs. Sonic

    Automotive News
    June 19, 2017





    For three years, the Chevrolet Sonic was a pint-sized showpiece for General Motors, proof that it's still feasible to build a subcompact car in the U.S. with unionized labor.

    These days, the Sonic is all but lost in the shadow of the Trax, a crossover based on the same tiny architecture that's built in Mexico and South Korea.

    The Trax has been an outsize success story for GM, which presciently spotted an opportunity in an underserved corner of the market and handily beat most competitors to the punch. It's the fastest-growing subcompact crossover in the industry, with sales soaring 33 percent this year through May.

    But its arrival at the end of 2014 triggered a tailspin for the Sonic, whose 45 percent sales decline this year through May represents the biggest drop among small cars still in production. Sales of the two vehicles were nearly equal in 2015; the Trax now outsells the Sonic nearly 3-to-1.

    The two vehicles embody the speed at which consumer tastes have shifted from cars to crossovers, perhaps more than any other intrabrand pair in the industry right

    The good news is that these crossovers are much more profitable than the cars left sputtering in their wake. Buyers paid about $5,100 more for the Trax than the Sonic last month, according to Kelley Blue Book data, and the Trax even commands about $1,500 more than the Cruze compact car.

    "It's not even costing them that much more to make the SUV versus the car off the same platform," said Karl Brauer, executive publisher for KBB and Autotrader.

    But GM had surely counted on higher volumes of the Sonic to get the project, which started in 2008, into the black. And President Donald Trump's criticism of automakers' increasing Mexican production makes this an awkward time for an imported Chevy to cannibalize one built in Michigan.

    The Sonic is in a particularly tight spot because Chevy is the only mass-market brand with cars in all five of the industry's size classes, from mini to full-size. The Cruze, redesigned last year, offers newer technology, more space and better fuel economy in exchange for a small bump in the monthly payment, while the Sonic has gotten only a modest freshening since its 2011 introduction.

    Buick scratched its small-car offering, the Verano, from the U.S. lineup last fall, as sales of its small crossover, the Encore, keep climbing each year.

    But Alan Batey, GM's president of North America and head of Global Chevrolet, said there are no plans to thin out Chevy's portfolio. Some cars might seem superfluous now, he said, but they are a hedge against another gasoline price spike that could send people scurrying to unload their SUV again.

    "You always have to make sure you're protected against an external environment that no one can predict," Batey said in an interview this month.

    The Sonic, which replaced the forgettable Aveo in mid-2011, is the smallest car built by any automaker in the U.S. It's GM's first U.S.-made subcompact since the Chevette's run ended in 1987.

    To facilitate that, GM took a number of cost-saving steps, bringing suppliers and subassembly work on-site and using innovations such as a thinner coating of rustproofing. GM also struck a deal with the UAW to pay many workers at the Orion Township, Mich., plant lower wages.

    "We wanted to prove we could do it," Diana Tremblay, then GM's head of global manufacturing, told The New York Times, which highlighted the car's arrival in a front-page story.




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    Re: State Of The Auto Industry: Chevy Trax Vs. Sonic

    To facilitate that, GM took a number of cost-saving steps...using innovations such as a thinner coating of rustproofing.
    I was honestly under the impression that GM left innovations like this in the past.

    Makes you wonder.


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    Re: State Of The Auto Industry: Chevy Trax Vs. Sonic

    Quote Originally Posted by Perian View Post
    I was honestly under the impression that GM left innovations like this in the past.

    Makes you wonder.
    .
    However, the question is, is there an innovation associated with the thinner coating that allows them to do that with no adverse effects (rust)? I think it is entirely possible and would like to know more before we go down the "stupid GM" path.

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    Re: State Of The Auto Industry: Chevy Trax Vs. Sonic

    I mean, have early Sonic owners been complaining about rust issues?
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    Re: State Of The Auto Industry: Chevy Trax Vs. Sonic

    Par for the course of what is happening in the industry, nothing really surprising here. What would rock the boat is if BOTH vehicles, Sonic and Trax were not selling.
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    Re: State Of The Auto Industry: Chevy Trax Vs. Sonic

    AN is now a subset of Chibby PR?

    "The Trax has been an outsize success story for GM, which presciently spotted an opportunity in an underserved corner of the market and handily beat most competitors to the punch. "

    Now if they'd said HHR, yes we can believe that story. But late 2014 did not "handily" beat much of anybody. Consider the Cube, Scion, etc. that have come and gone.

    In the CD comparo, five of the six were new kids. But more and more, writers and other folks called journalists just make up stuff or just don't know anything, and nobody cares. Or nobody else knows either. Welcome, Idiocracy, 490 years early.

    Interesting how in the New Information Age, with more info than ever available, people seem to know less and less and be able to reason less and less.


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    Re: State Of The Auto Industry: Chevy Trax Vs. Sonic

    Quote Originally Posted by FenwickHockey65 View Post
    I mean, have early Sonic owners been complaining about rust issues?
    Let's hope not. But even the 60s-70s rustbuckets took a few years to oxidize into ugliness.
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    Re: State Of The Auto Industry: Chevy Trax Vs. Sonic

    Quote Originally Posted by FenwickHockey65 View Post
    I mean, have early Sonic owners been complaining about rust issues?
    Not that I'm aware of. I also participate in sonicownersforum.com, and I don't recall mention of rust issues.

    As I see it, the problem with Sonic right now is the uncompetitive MPG of the 1.8L. The new Cruze offers a bigger car for not much more money (MSRP)...and better MPG. The current 1.8L is rated 33-34MPG hwy versus Cruze's around 40MPG. Ouch. To buyers like me, MPG is a factor. To get close to that with the Sonic you have to pay extra for the 1.4T (around 38MPG). My guess is quite a few Sonic buyers are choosing Cruze instead, plus Trax too of course.

    To make the Sonic viable against the Cruze, you have to at least match Cruze MPG. So first they should drop the 1.8L and offer the 1.4T across the board, that would at least get you in the same ballpark. Plus isn't there a non-turbo 1.5L around for penny-pinchers like me? What kind of MPG would that offer?

    ALSO, to appeal to sporty buyers offer a real sport version with more power and distinctly better 0-60 than the Cruze. At least 1 sec better 0-60. This would make the Sonic RS the "sporty younger brother" of the Cruze. How about the 1.5T from the Malibu? That would be a terrific engine in the RS. (Yes there's the 2.0T that could be used in a Sonic SS.)

    Incidentally, my 1.8L/5sp easily gets 40MPG on the highway on an EPA rating of 35MPG. So the EPA numbers can be beaten. But the new Cruze is still rated way better than the 1.8L.

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    Re: State Of The Auto Industry: Chevy Trax Vs. Sonic

    I would take a Sonic over a Trax any day but I definitely see more Trax on the road. Unfortunate for the workers in Michigan.

    Need higher gas prices to spur sales but that seems unlikely for the foreseeable future.

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    Re: State Of The Auto Industry: Chevy Trax Vs. Sonic

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg View Post
    Not that I'm aware of. I also participate in sonicownersforum.com, and I don't recall mention of rust issues.

    As I see it, the problem with Sonic right now is the uncompetitive MPG of the 1.8L. The new Cruze offers a bigger car for not much more money (MSRP)...and better MPG. The current 1.8L is rated 33-34MPG hwy versus Cruze's around 40MPG. Ouch. To buyers like me, MPG is a factor. To get close to that with the Sonic you have to pay extra for the 1.4T (around 38MPG). My guess is quite a few Sonic buyers are choosing Cruze instead, plus Trax too of course.

    To make the Sonic viable against the Cruze, you have to at least match Cruze MPG. So first they should drop the 1.8L and offer the 1.4T across the board, that would at least get you in the same ballpark. Plus isn't there a non-turbo 1.5L around for penny-pinchers like me? What kind of MPG would that offer?

    ALSO, to appeal to sporty buyers offer a real sport version with more power and distinctly better 0-60 than the Cruze. At least 1 sec better 0-60. This would make the Sonic RS the "sporty younger brother" of the Cruze. How about the 1.5T from the Malibu? That would be a terrific engine in the RS. (Yes there's the 2.0T that could be used in a Sonic SS.)

    Incidentally, my 1.8L/5sp easily gets 40MPG on the highway on an EPA rating of 35MPG. So the EPA numbers can be beaten. But the new Cruze is still rated way better than the 1.8L.

    https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/bymo...et_Sonic.shtml
    Cruze is a problem for sure. GM out engineered it's own sub-compact.

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    Re: State Of The Auto Industry: Chevy Trax Vs. Sonic

    Quote Originally Posted by FenwickHockey65 View Post
    I mean, have early Sonic owners been complaining about rust issues?
    My wife drives a 2013 Sonic that is now 4.5 years old. We haven't noticed any rust issues. We live in winter salt country too.
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    Re: State Of The Auto Industry: Chevy Trax Vs. Sonic

    Quote Originally Posted by Neanderthal View Post
    AN is now a subset of Chibby PR?

    "The Trax has been an outsize success story for GM, which presciently spotted an opportunity in an underserved corner of the market and handily beat most competitors to the punch. "

    Now if they'd said HHR, yes we can believe that story. But late 2014 did not "handily" beat much of anybody. Consider the Cube, Scion, etc. that have come and gone.

    In the CD comparo, five of the six were new kids. But more and more, writers and other folks called journalists just make up stuff or just don't know anything, and nobody cares. Or nobody else knows either. Welcome, Idiocracy, 490 years early.

    Interesting how in the New Information Age, with more info than ever available, people seem to know less and less and be able to reason less and less.


    Reviews / Mazda CX-3 AWD vs. Fiat 500X AWD, Honda HR-V AWD, Jeep Renegade 4x4, Chevrolet Trax AWD, Kia Soul - Comparison Tests


    COMPARISON TESTS
    Mazda CX-3 AWD vs. Fiat 500X AWD, Honda HR-V AWD, Jeep Renegade 4x4, Chevrolet Trax AWD, Kia Soul
    The members of this new class look like little SUVs, but you'll want to keep these guys on the road.

    SEP 2015 BY JARED GALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARC URBANO

    http://www.caranddriver.com/comparis...omparison-test
    Exactly on that Trax being in an underserved corner of the market. If I remember correctly most everyone other than maybe Ford had an entry already there and GM was rushing this to US specs because they already had it in other places around the globe. Thus playing catch up again.
    Quote Originally Posted by kool1 View Post
    I would take a Sonic over a Trax any day but I definitely see more Trax on the road. Unfortunate for the workers in Michigan.

    Need higher gas prices to spur sales but that seems unlikely for the foreseeable future.
    It is the exact opposite in my neck of the woods. The Sonic is quite popular with more of them around and the Trax is the one in the minority.

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    Re: State Of The Auto Industry: Chevy Trax Vs. Sonic

    Quote Originally Posted by Perian View Post
    I was honestly under the impression that GM left innovations like this in the past.

    Makes you wonder.


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    Innovation!

    $10 savings per unit, winds up loosing how many customers again?

    And just because they are gaining market (somewhat, while losing in another) What happens when other's join the market? Eco Sport is just around the corner, New Ranger also.

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    Re: State Of The Auto Industry: Chevy Trax Vs. Sonic

    Quote Originally Posted by Neanderthal View Post
    AN is now a subset of Chibby PR?

    "The Trax has been an outsize success story for GM, which presciently spotted an opportunity in an underserved corner of the market and handily beat most competitors to the punch. "

    Now if they'd said HHR, yes we can believe that story. But late 2014 did not "handily" beat much of anybody. Consider the Cube, Scion, etc. that have come and gone.

    In the CD comparo, five of the six were new kids. But more and more, writers and other folks called journalists just make up stuff or just don't know anything, and nobody cares. Or nobody else knows either. Welcome, Idiocracy, 490 years early.

    Interesting how in the New Information Age, with more info than ever available, people seem to know less and less and be able to reason less and less.


    Reviews / Mazda CX-3 AWD vs. Fiat 500X AWD, Honda HR-V AWD, Jeep Renegade 4x4, Chevrolet Trax AWD, Kia Soul - Comparison Tests


    COMPARISON TESTS
    Mazda CX-3 AWD vs. Fiat 500X AWD, Honda HR-V AWD, Jeep Renegade 4x4, Chevrolet Trax AWD, Kia Soul
    The members of this new class look like little SUVs, but you'll want to keep these guys on the road.

    SEP 2015 BY JARED GALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARC URBANO

    http://www.caranddriver.com/comparis...omparison-test
    I'd agree Trax was actually pretty late to the subcompact CUV party, but Encore was launched exactly at the right time, right before the market took off. They would've had a better argument using it than Trax. Again, also not the first, but arguably one of the most successful.
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    Re: State Of The Auto Industry: Chevy Trax Vs. Sonic

    It doesn't help that the refreshes made the Sonic less attractive and the Trax more attractive.

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