Chevrolet’s Cheap Minicar, the Spark, Is a Surprisingly Strong Seller

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Thread: Chevrolet’s Cheap Minicar, the Spark, Is a Surprisingly Strong Seller

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    Chevrolet’s Cheap Minicar, the Spark, Is a Surprisingly Strong Seller

    Chevrolet’s Cheap Minicar, the Spark, Is a Surprisingly Strong Seller
    By JACLYN TROP
    Published: August 16, 2013

    The tiny Chevrolet Spark from General Motors is about as bare bones as cars come these days, with hand-crank windows, no floor mats and one of the smallest engines of any car. Air-conditioning is optional. But to the surprise of even G.M. itself, which has traditionally struggled to sell small cars, the Spark has become an unlikely hit as many American buyers warm to a car that is cheap to buy and to operate.

    The Spark, made in South Korea, seats four, has room for groceries — and starts at $12,170, significantly less than the Fiat 500’s starting price of $16,100. It’s also inexpensive to run, getting about 35 miles to the gallon.

    In July, sales of the Spark increased 163 percent over the previous year, its introductory month, to a record 3,847, showing that a stripped-down minicar can succeed in a market crowded with costlier rivals like the Fiat 500 that have more features and technology. Its July sales outpaced the Fiat 500’s 2,821, which was a 24 percent decline from a year earlier. Through July this year, Spark sales were 21,435, behind only the Fiat 500’s 23,892 among minicars.

    “To me, it’s an appliance,” said William Wortman of Ohio City near Cleveland, who in April bought a Spark with manual transmission for his weekly 250-mile commute to his job as a toolmaker. The Spark’s 1.2-liter, four-cylinder engine makes it the smallest in the Chevrolet lineup.

    “It gets me back and forth,” he said. “All I wanted was a radio.”

    Even G.M. did not expect it would resonate this way with consumers. “We’re very surprised with how well the vehicle has been selling,” said Cristi Landy, Chevrolet marketing director.

    More at link: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/bu...r=yahoofinance

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    Re: Chevrolet’s Cheap Minicar, the Spark, Is a Surprisingly Strong Seller

    Options or lack of options standard is nice to see. Not sure if its just this Minicar class or can a Malibu, Fusion get away with a bare bones stripper model? Auto windows, air conditioning is the price of entry in almost all classes with the exception of work trucks. Not sure this will spread....
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    Re: Chevrolet’s Cheap Minicar, the Spark, Is a Surprisingly Strong Seller

    I bet there is a market out there for the stripper models, many would be happy to get a large car for cheap, like the Impala, but with no options.

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    Re: Chevrolet’s Cheap Minicar, the Spark, Is a Surprisingly Strong Seller

    Saw one of these and a 500 downtown after I got my haircut yesterday. Looks pretty cool on the road, but wasn't expecting it!

    I also saw one of them in another, pretty wealthy area a few weeks back. Decent penetration for it, since I only see a small handful of 500s in the same areas.

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    Re: Chevrolet’s Cheap Minicar, the Spark, Is a Surprisingly Strong Seller

    Well, duh! Remember that VW, Honda, Toyota, et.al., ALL started out as "stripped down" econo boxes too!

    The difference will come if GM fumbles the ball (again) and 'improves' the vehicle to achieve GM's expectations rather than achieving the CUSTOMERS 'K.I.S.S.' expectations!
    Last edited by 70AARCUDA; 08-17-2013 at 01:42 PM.
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    Re: Chevrolet’s Cheap Minicar, the Spark, Is a Surprisingly Strong Seller

    Quote Originally Posted by 70AARCUDA View Post
    Well, duh! Remember that VW, Honda, Toyota, et.al., ALL started out as "stripped down" econo boxes too!

    The difference will come if GM fumbles the ball (again) and 'improves' the vehicle to achieve GM's expectations rather than achieving the CUSTOMERS 'K.I.S.S.' expectations!
    No the FUMBLE will come when the Daewoo Heritage for quality comes out.

    I sold Pontiac's in the 90's when GM first hooked up with Daewoo, before GM bought them. The Pontiac Lemans could be had for a mere $7999,with a 5 year warranty, and still had trouble selling them. Until 1 day a very wise carman bought a 1995 Pontiac Firefly from me (a much better car) and put a 6 year warranty on it. Totaled about $10500-$11000. I asked him "Why a Firefly" he stated "A normal compact car looses $2500 a year in value" "6 years from now the car won't owe me anything".

    I sold every remaining 1994 Lemans we had on that pretence, even 1 to my cousin. Saw my Cousin alot more at the dealership than at any family gathering.

    6 years later I gave the wise Carman $1500 for that same car, so he was ahead. Never seen him except for 1 alternator, and oil changes.

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    Re: Chevrolet’s Cheap Minicar, the Spark, Is a Surprisingly Strong Seller

    a friend of mine just picked up a 2013 spark. Its a little car, I got to drive it but its not my cup of tea.....don't think id like anything smaller than our Vibe. She really likes the touch screen radio and the usb iphone hook up and didn't want many options to keep the cost down. Big decision maker was the mpg for her as shes in college and working part time. I hope it holds up well for her. She was disappointed tho in the lack of rebates on this model, as it was a leftover 13 and she was expecting the college discount but the dealer said this model was excluded from that program. Im just glad she bought a GM vehicle, more youngsters need to.
    so many GM vehicles in my household my driveway looks like a used car lot

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    Re: Chevrolet’s Cheap Minicar, the Spark, Is a Surprisingly Strong Seller

    I don't know where this reporter is getting his information from, but the reason the Spark does so well is the basic standard options to price. Thae BASE spark manual does include A/C and Power Windows but omits power locks. It is very basic mode of transportation, BUT it is designed very well for its purpose. Its interior doesn't feel any cheaper or inferior to many cars you would find in the mid to upper teen price range and it includes higher features like alloy wheels on all trims. The 1.2 engine also doesn't feel gutless when driven normally(with manual transmision). Also if someone wants features, they can still get loaded nicely with options like leatherette and 7" touch screen for the price of a middle trim sonic.

    My partner bought a base LS manual for the $12,995 as he was looking for cheap payments and basic features (like the power windows - refused cranks). He cares less about performance, and he liked the look and felt the interior had adaquate size(almost same interior dimensions as Sonic). The slide forward/fold down back seats are nifty if you needed more storage in the back and the am/fm with aux port is more then adequate for todays stereo needs.

    It does well because it hits its demographic on the bullseye. Offering a cheap mode of transportation without buyers feeling they are compromizing on size or features. It also makes buying easier with the car having so little overhead for dealerships, there is little to no haggle pricing which makes the buying experience stress free.

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    Spark has power locks standard...and windows, and a/c.

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    Re: Chevrolet’s Cheap Minicar, the Spark, Is a Surprisingly Strong Seller

    Good news is good news. And this is good. Modern version of my 71 Honda AN600.
    2017 Soul &, Titanium

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    Re: Chevrolet’s Cheap Minicar, the Spark, Is a Surprisingly Strong Seller

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackGTP View Post
    I bet there is a market out there for the stripper models, many would be happy to get a large car for cheap, like the Impala, but with no options.
    Works for the Spark but has its pitfalls. I remember in the 80's when the Camaro line offered a stripper model. Small wheels with wheel covers, not true wheels. Looked lame and detracted from the entire line. Might have had a bare bones interior as well. Glad that GM has gotten away from this. You learn from your mistakes.

    Can't do this with aspirational models like the Impala, which is your flagship.
    Last edited by RoyG; 08-18-2013 at 02:18 PM. Reason: more info

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