Chevrolet has followed through on rumors that it would rename its popular Aveo compact Sonic. The name change comes as an effective rebranding of a simmering model, one that hasn’t fared well against foreign rivals in the same class.
The Aveo will become Sonic in all of the North American automotive markets including the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Some slight changes will be made to the exterior of the car to fit within the new likeness Chevy would like to represent. The new Sonic will have both a hatchback and sedan version to round out a selection of choices.
General Motors first introduced the car in 2004 but it was slow to fit in with Chevrolet’s larger vehicles. After a buyout of Daewoo, a South Korean automaker, General Motors took its popular “Kalos” to the United States as the Chevy Aveo and Pontiac Wave. Consumers weren’t fooled by the new name, and opted for other cars from different brands.
It wasn’t until the “cash for clunkers” program authorized by the US government 2009 made the Aveo a sales leader. Industry analysts say its sub-$12,000 price point put the model at an advantage, with the $4,500 subsidy bringing the final price as low as $7,500.
Since Cash for Clunkers put the Aveo in the spotlight, sales have improved, though apparently not to the degree that General Motors would like to see. Sales volume tripled from October 2009 to October 2010. With some rebranding, executives hope the new Sonic will attract a younger, budget conscious consumer. The vice president of U.S. Marketing, Chris Perry, said the Sonic will be “a new beginning for Chevrolet in the small car segment.”
The new Sonic will move from the San Luis Potosí Assembly in San Luis Potosí, Mexico to a newly improved Orion Assembly Center in Lake Orion, Michigan. The assembly center was recently part of a $545 restoration project that would keep as many as 1,200 jobs in Michigan automotive assembly. The plant will also serve as an assembly center for the new Buick Verano.