Thursday, August 6, 2020
News Chevrolet Sonic And Toyota Yaris Departures Could Signal The End Of The...

Chevrolet Sonic And Toyota Yaris Departures Could Signal The End Of The Affordable Car Market

  • The Chevrolet Sonic and Toyota Yaris won’t be coming back while the future of the Honda Fit remains in doubt.
  • Automakers are pushing cheap SUVs instead

Small cars appear to be on the way out in North America with the Chevrolet Sonic confirmed as the latest victim. Despite being named the best car in J.D. Power’s 2020 Initial Quality Study, the Sonic’s days are numbered.

GM Authority first reported the news and today Electrek got confirmation. The Chevrolet Sonic joins the Toyota Yaris which will be discontinued in Canada and the United States. In late 2019 a report surfaced in Automotive News that the Honda Fit’s future was in doubt although Honda hasn’t confirmed the news. Last year, Nissan canned the Canada-only Micra which held the title of the most affordable car in the country along with the Chevrolet Spark.

Granted, there are still plenty of affordable small cars. Mitsubishi is bringing back the Mirage and Chevrolet still has the Spark. Priced at $9,998 in Canada and $13,100 in the US, it certainly qualifies as cheap (in a good way). The Mirage starts at $13,995 in the US and $12,298 in Canada. And Nissan did bring the Versa back.

Meanwhile, affordable SUVs have been getting more and more popular. The new Hyundai Venue and Nissan Kicks are both priced under $20k in both markets, but they are still more expensive by quite a few thousands of dollars than the cheapest cars on sale. They are also bigger which for some consumers may be a problem.

One reader reached out recently. In the market for the cheapest, smallest, most efficient form of transportation on four wheels, she was annoyed with the fact that her Hyundai dealer was insisting on the Venue and doing everything to discourage the purchase of a Hyundai Accent. She ultimately went with a Chevy Spark.

We spoke with automakers to get their take for another story on the possible shift from mass transit to small cars, and the general feeling was that small SUVs will continue to win out. For now at least.

“The minimal difference in pricing between the Yaris and the Toyota Corolla is pushing more consumers to opt for the latter which has more space and features” says Romaric Lartilleux, Public Relations Manager for Toyota Canada.

“Based on market predictions, Subaru Canada is not expecting a shift from the current crossover and SUV rise. This part of the industry is still expected to be the largest part in the next few years and current fuel prices support this trend,” said Julie Lychak, Public Relations Manager for Subaru Canada.

Automotive trends come and go, but the end of the small car appears to be more than a trend. We may just have to get used to sitting a little higher in our vehicles from now on. Or, smaller cars could gain traction again in the future if they have an electric motor under the hood. The departure of the Chevrolet Sonic opens up room for GM to product more Chevrolet Bolts and subsequent EVs, so maybe that’s the next trend.

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Charles Jolicoeur
Charles Jolicoeur
Charles Jolicoeur was studying to be a CPA when he decided to drop everything and launch a car website in 2012. Don't ask. The journey has been an interesting one, but today he has co-founded and manages 8 websites including EcoloAuto.com and MotorIllustrated.com as General Manager of NetMedia360. He also sits on the board of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada. Send me an email

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