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As Chevrolet Readies a Brighter 2019 Spark, How’s the Scorching Minicar Segment Doing?

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Image: General Motors

The sub-subcompact “metropolis car” phase is a type of uncommon occurrences the place Canadians have it higher than People when it comes to selection and price. Whereas the U.S. fields simply two of those tiny runabouts (the Sensible Fortwo Electrical Drive doesn’t rely, and we’re not counting the Fiat 500, both), Canucks can heat their frozen cockles figuring out there’s three 4-door, extremely-low cost fashions ready for them at native sellers.

Not solely that, however all three fashions carry an MSRP in the 4-determine range. Simply barely, however in a nation the place an A&W Uncle Burger value your writer $9.03 final week ($9.03! No combo, both), that is tantamount to financial institution theft.

So, as we take a take a look at the modifications Chevrolet has in retailer for its 2019 Spark, let’s gauge the general well being of this tiny phase — north and south of the border.

First, the new Spark. For the coming mannequin yr, the most diminutive of Chevys joins its bigger siblings in adopting a bigger stacked grille, now with added chrome trim that appears misplaced on a vehicle on this phase. To this writer’s eyes, maybe the earlier mannequin received it proper. Be happy to disagree.

The remainder of the entrance fascia evolves barely to include revised headlights and foglights, and the rear lamps transfer nearer to the company look. LED operating lamps seem on 1LT and 2LT trims, whereas all fashions see revised wheel designs. Inside, an up to date infotainment system joins the mannequin for 2019, together with out there low-velocity ahead emergency braking.

Like earlier than, a ninety eight-horsepower 1.four-liter 4-cylinder offers the pulling energy, matched to a 5-velocity guide or constantly variable dance associate. And should you’re a fan of 15-inch wheels, has Chevy obtained excellent news for you: there’s no different selection.

Clearly designed to get this vehicle observed (and tempt consumers with a extra appetizing shade palette than provided by Mitsubishi), 4 fruity colours are on the approach. They’re: Orange Burst Metallic, Ardour Fruit, Caribbean Blue Metallic, and Rasberry. Tasty stuff!

As properly, the tender-roader Activ mannequin continues to face aside from the Spark lineup, providing consumers an altered fascia, physique cladding, and a zero.four-inch increase in experience peak to assist deal with these difficult off-street obstacles. I’ve by no means seen one in the flesh.

Launched in mid-2012, the Spark’s best U.S. gross sales yr got here in 2014, when Chevy bought 39,159 copies. In 2017, People, now accustomed to secure fuel costs, picked up up 22,589 of the little guys. March Spark gross sales rose 2.5 % in the U.S., bringing 2018’s quantity to a level 2.7 % decrease than the similar time final yr.

It’s a totally different story in Canada, nevertheless, as Spark gross sales — whereas modest — have grown annually since its introduction. Quantity final yr was three,982 models, and quantity over the first quarter of 2019 is up 35.9 %.

2017 Mirage Mitsubishi, Image: Mitsubishi Motors

The Spark’s solely different U.S. challenger, the three-cylinder Mitsubishi Mirage, nipped at its heels final yr, posting gross sales of 22,386 automobiles. That’s simply 203 shy of the Spark’s complete. Mirage gross sales have grown annually since its 2013 debut, however 2018 knowledge exhibits it falling behind its home competitor. March noticed a gross sales decline of 6.6 %, yr over yr, with quantity over the first three months of 2018 down 25.9 %.

In Canada, Mirage gross sales peaked in 2014, declining annually since. Final yr’s knowledge confirmed the Spark outselling the Mirage by 27 %. In 2018, gross sales rose 1.7 % by the finish of March.

Chevrolet appears to carry the benefit on this sluggish race. Regardless of falling U.S. Spark gross sales, we’re not conscious of any radical Mirage redesign that would despatched strapped consumers stampeding for the Mitsubishi supplier.

In fact, our third entry on this class is one thing People simply can’t have, to Chris Tonn’s eternal remorse. The Nissan Micra is the scorching rod of the bunch, with a 109-horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder beneath its wee hood. Bought since 2014, thrifty (and closely taxed) Canuck consumers picked up eleven,909 of those in its second yr on the market — little question to flaunt close to U.S. border crossings.

In 2017, the Micra’s annual gross sales tally stood at eight,812 of the cute little 5-doorways — greater than the Spark and Mirage mixed. As the mannequin ages, nevertheless, Canada’s affection appears to be waning. March gross sales sank 33.9 %, yr over yr, with quantity down 18 % over the first quarter of 2018. Not solely that, a subsequent-gen mannequin is scheduled to reach in abroad markets in 2019, however not in Canada.

At that time, anticipate a two-method race once more, north and south of the border — and Chevrolet holds the higher product.

[Images: General Motors, Mitsubishi Motors]

– As Chevrolet Readies a Brighter 2019 Spark, How’s the Scorching Minicar Segment Doing? –

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