Chevrolet Sonic: GM’s new chance to enter the Japanese market

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 14, 2011

General Motors Co. has prepared a TV advertising campaign for the Chevrolet Sonic in Japan. This is quite a surprising move since it’s rare for Detroit brands to get airtime in Japan. So far, GM hasn’t announced a sales target. It’s believed that the Sonic will be priced affordably.

It is expected to have a starting price of 1.89 million yen ($24,550), which is lower than the 2 million yen benchmark frequently seen as the cutoff for affordable cars in Japan. The Sonic has a price tag that’s higher than Japan-based rivals like the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris.

However, GM said that it won’t compete directly with them and that it would offer just fully loaded top-trim versions. GM is hoping to leverage its new globally engineered world cars to break away from its reputation as a niche purveyor of SUVs and muscle cars in Japan.

Sonic, which will be imported from South Korea, is targeted at young people who want to drive a vehicle that’s different from the usual Japan-brand compacts and mini-vehicles on the road.

The Sonic will start selling on Nov. 12 at the 36 dealers of GM throughout Japan. With this entry, GM returns to offering small cars in Japan since 2000, when it had sold the Opel Corsa, badged as the Vita. That car’s price tag also stood at approximately 2 million yen.

2011 North American International Auto Show showcased the upcoming Chevrolet Sonic model for 2012. The vibrant and sporty designed compact car is fuel efficient, agile and is even packed with turbocharged performance. Nevertheless, the new Sonic bears a deep, wide stance with well-proportioned wheels at the corners that no other car on the road can simply ignore.

All-new Sonic is available in two variants that display power, stability and refinement on the road. Both the five-door sport and four-door sedan provide ample room for the passenger and more space at the luggage compartment. Additionally, the driver will also benefit the most out of the new Sonic’s connectivity features that many of us haven’t actually seen yet.

Meanwhile the smooth, flowing lines around the body convey motion even if the car is not moving. Maybe it’s because the new Sonic’s profile easily blends with the rest of the features that we see around the surface. In fact, you wouldn’t even notice the side mirrors because of this streamlined new approach. That is quite impressive, by the way.

Still, Chevrolet’s design standards such as the rounded taillights and dual element grille blend seamlessly with the new Sonic’s motorcycle headlights and striking flares at the fenders. The gorgeous outline surrounding the hood as well as the sides constantly shows around the new Chevy’s peculiar low roofline, high beltline and also at the distinctive line just above the headlights.

As Chevrolet’s VP for Marketing Chris Perry said, the new model combines the usefulness of a compact car with the driving spirit of the famous Chevrolet Corvette. The Sonic is a fusion of the most advanced technology, fun driving abilities and interesting designs that are enough to be taken seriously by its competitors.

Perry also said that Chevrolet is the only car manufacturer in the US that is devoted to the small segment. He thinks that the new Sonic will bring awareness (to the American people) about the value of a compact car. He’s also hoping that the Sonic’s impressive performance and modern design will finally change people’s impression about mini cars.

In the meantime, the $545 million investment for GM’s Orion Assembly Centre in Michigan benefited more than 1,000 residents in Detroit’s very populated district. The said investment is intended for retooling and upgrading in time for Chevrolet’s use of the production facility this 2011. It seems that there are a lot of great things to look forward to. Perhaps everyone is so delighted that the new Chevrolet Sonic would be one of those. Don’t you think so too?

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