GM has started building the subcompact Chevy Sonic at their Orion Hills, MI plant. The upcoming Chevrolet Sonic may be small in size, but the automaker has huge plans for the subcompact car, which replaces the forgettable Korean-built Chevy Aveo in its lineup. Chevy has gone to great lengths to promote the Sonic, despite the fact that it won’t hit dealer showrooms until sometime this fall.
Like the Aveo, the Sonic was developed in South Korea; unlike the Aveo, the Sonic will be built in the United States. GM is quick to point out that the Sonic is the only subcompact from a domestic manufacturer built in this country. If you count the Fiat 500 as being from Chrysler, it’s built at their plant in Toluca, Mexico. Ford’s Fiesta also comes from south of the border, and is assembled at the Ford plant in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.
The Sonic began production at Chevy’s Orion Township, MI plant today, justifying some $500 million in upgrades that GM has spent on the facility, which also builds the Buick Verano. At launch, Chevy will offer the Sonic at a base price of $14,495, which makes it slightly more expensive than a base Ford Fiesta. Opt for the 1.4-liter turbo engine, and the price goes up by $700. If you want the range-topping LTZ version in hatchback form, that price starts at $17,235.
Chevy has alluded to the Sonic’s handling, referencing its direct DNA link to the Chevrolet Corvette. We’re struggling to make the connection between a front-engine, front-drive subcompact and one of America’s premier sports cars, but we’ll give Chevy some latitude, at least until we have a chance to drive the Sonic.