GM idles the Orion assembly plant that builds the Chevy Sonic due to parts shortage

Article by Christian A., on November 2, 2011

General Motors announced a two-day operations shutdown for Tuesday and Wednesday this week at its Orion Township assembly plant due to a parts shortage. This plant in suburban Detroit produces the Chevrolet Sonic subcompact, which was launched in late August. According to GM spokesman Chris Lee, the automaker is working with the supplier but he declined to specify the component that’s lacking.

Production will resume on Thursday. In the U.S. last month, GM sold 3,833 units of the Sonic, the replacement of the Aveo. The Aveo sold 6,038 units in the U.S. in October 2010.

Around 1,500 employees work on two shifts at the Orion Township plant, which resumed operations this year after having been closed in 2009 over cost-cutting measures due to bankruptcy. GM is making use of a bigger portion of components from overseas, mainly from Korea. To enhance efficiency at this plant, GM is also making broader use of in-house suppliers.

Tier 2 workers make up about 40% of Orion Township’s workers. They make an entry level wage that’s around half that of regular UAW employees. This is part of a 2009 deal that aided GM to become the only automaker to build a subcompact car in the U.S. It should be mentioned that other auto companies build small cars in countries where there’s much cheaper labor like in Mexico.

No matter what angle it is viewed from, the Chevrolet Sonic is able to express refinement, strength, and stability. With its wheels being positioned at the corners plus the fact that it comes with an ingrained and wide posture, it displays top performance. Utilizing the raked and advanced lines convey movement even if the Sonic is not in fact moving.

All of these qualities can be observed on both the 5-door version and the sedan variant. In terms of actual features, there are a number of them that differentiate these two versions. The sedan for instance has a notchback profile which comes with a more mature presence and is even more upscale. Meanwhile the 5-door has lines which are diving and more aggressive and placed in a two-box and tight shape.

Since the door handles in the rear have been discreetly placed in the C-pillar region, it results in the 5-door having an appearance similar to a 3-door hatch. Still on the 5-door variant, it continues to have unconventional features like the exposed rear tail lamps, clearly inspired by a motorcycle.

These round motorcycle-inspired headlamps and the fender flares, both aggressive design cues, are in fact common in both versions. These have been combined with design cues Chevrolet is known for like the round tail lamps and the dual-element grille.

Starting from the top of the headlamps and just on the leading edge of its hood is a character line which goes across the smooth side profile and is characterized by the low roofline, high beltline, and continuous body side lines.

Shaped like the car itself, the side mirrors looks as if it vanishes into the profile. That attention to detail was given to the Sonic and that it has quality is strengthened by features that include the honeycomb grille inserts in matte black and the chrome grille surrounds. A wide range of options is made available for the wheels like the alloy 17-inch wheels which strengthens even more its sporty attitude.

While the exterior is indeed inspired by the motorcycle, this is complemented in the interior with the detail instrument cluster. The instrument cluster comes with a round and large analog tachometer that has been placed in the asymmetrical LCD readout, and there is even a large display for the digital speedometer.

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