2011 SEMA Show: Chevrolet and its small cars

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 3, 2011

Chevrolet doesn’t appreciate how much tuners like diminutive import cars and decided to do something about it. At the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the brand displayed an amazing lineup of customized small rides. These include almost 20 Sonics in both hatchback and sedan versions. Ten Cruzes are set to be at the Chevy stand too, as well as a collection of Camaros and Covettes that we’ve come to expect.

Jim Campbell, vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports, said that Chevrolet is taking this chance to put the focus on its small cars. This move is a part of General Motors' strategy to benefit from the multibillion-dollar automotive aftermarket.

Chevrolet is beefing up its stand in SEMA since the show gets the attention of around 115,000 industry observers and insiders. It is actually the biggest trade show of its kind in the U.S. Chevrolet wants to reinforce the launch of the Sonic, which has started to arrive. It also wants consumers to pay attention to the Cruze, which became available in the market for about a year.

Both will receive accessories from the Z-Spec line. Some are intended for production while the other models are interesting pieces that may make it to the aftermarket lineup. What should get any enthusiast excited is the fact that the Sonic Z-Spec 1 receives a spoiler, ground effects, and a graphics package.

It comes in a torch red color and will have chassis upgrades too. The Sonic Z-Spec 2 arrives in a white shade with torch red accents. Similar upgrades were done to the body and suspension. The Sonic Z-Spec 4D concept comes in a new shade of ashen gray that production cars will soon be seen in. Improvements will be made on its interior and body and its graphics give off a touring-car theme.

Chevrolet said that the Sonic and the Cruze will get Dusk accessories, which means that it will have dark paint, ground effects and an upscale vibe. GM design vice president Ed Welburn considers the Cruze Dusk as a personal favorite. There will be another Cruze that will receive Z-Spec customization, with a distinctive grille and wheels.

Looked at from any position, both the Chevrolet Sonic sedan and the 5-door version are able to show refinement, stability, and strength. It even shows off its top performance features especially with the wheels being placed at the corners and its planted and wide stance. By having the raked and progressive body lines, it ensures that the Chevrolet Sonic gives hints of movement even if it is stationary.

Chevrolet will be offering for the Sonic two styles of the body. There will be the 4-door sedan with its own style and the sporty 5-door variant. Regardless of the model though, each will offer space in the rear seat that is truly class-leading and even the space for cargo is the same. In order to improve the driving experience, a host of connectivity features is fitted.

In terms of design, the new Sonic has features that make it immediately clear that it is a Chevrolet. These include the round tail lamps and dual-element grille, known design cues of the company, and combined with the aggressive cues, the round headlamps are clearly inspired by motorcycles and the fender flares. The hood in particular, has an edge that creates a character line on top of the headlamps.

This same line goes across the smooth profile of the side and defines the continuous body side lines, low roofline, and high beltline. Since the side mirrors follow the shape of the model, it has the appearance of seeming to disappear to its profile. Chevrolet Vice-President for Marketing Chris Perry shared that the new Sonic is able to offer the practicality present in a small car and combine this with the driving passion models like the Corvette are known for.

A fun driving experience, excellent design, plus having the latest in connectivity features, ensures that this new model has that fun spirit, he continued. Chevrolet has long been the sold company in the U.S. that manufactures small cars and with the Sonic, hopefully will add substance to the segment given its value, performance, and progressive style, he added. Qualities that will change of how the U.S. will view small cars, Perry said.

The 2012 Sonic will be exhibited during the 2011 North American International Auto Show. While it does have the aggressive and energetic design, it is supported with amazing handling, agile ride, and turbocharged performance. The overall result is that it is a small car that is not only fun to drive but efficient as well.

Sonic will be manufactured at the General Motors Orion Assembly Center located in Michigan and will start sometime in 2011. This same facility already obtained investments in retooling and upgrades worth $545 million. With this facility becoming operational, it is expected to create around 1,000 jobs, especially at the metropolitan Detroit area.

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