Last post on Jul 24, 2013 at 10:56 AM
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Chevrolet Spark, Hatchback
#21 of 32 Autoweek: SPARK SALES
Oct 15, 2012 (5:58 am)
General Motors is increasing imports of Chevrolet Spark minicars for sale in the United States following a stronger-than-expected launch here.
GM recently upped its order for Sparks from the Korea plant that produces the car, Cristi Landy, marketing director for Chevrolet small cars, told Automotive News.
“We've asked for more already,” Landy said Wednesday. “We've gotten a really strong reaction in the marketplace.”
Landy wouldn't say how many Sparks were imported under GM's original forecast or how many more the company has requested.
GM launched the Spark in 18 metro U.S. markets in July. During its first two months on the market, sales totaled 6,313, a solid start that surprised some GM executives and dealers.
Before the Spark's launch, IHS Automotive forecast sales of 27,000 in 2013, the car's first full year on the U.S. market. The sales pace from the limited rollout puts GM on target to exceed that total on an annual basis.
Labor strife in Korea this summer disrupted some Spark shipments to the United States, Landy said. GM lost some production when Korean workers staged a number of partial strikes. The company reached a deal with its Korean labor union in August.
Landy said GM is working to make up those lost units and is boosting shipments beyond the company's original forecast.
The Korea plant has capacity for about 200,000 units a year, a company spokeswoman said. The factory also supplies Korea, India, Mexico and other markets.
“Our dealers are asking for more,” Landy said. “We don't want to make a gut production decision based on two-and-a-half months of sales. But demand has been strong.”
#22 of 32 Tinny doors and New York City
Oct 15, 2012 (6:44 am)
Thank you for your response, NY. The Smart may indeed pan out--much may depend on marketing, and I see the marketing for the Smart clever, aggressive, and respectful--in keeping with the Beetle ads (mostly in magazines and newspapers) of the 1960s.
A two-seater, however, may prove to have a low ceiling of popularity.
If the Spark is to realize what I describe as its potential, it will require not a bunch of MBAs pushing it, but servant leaders determined to level with the public while highlighting the features the Spark offers, the low price once all the standard features are factored in, and a personality for the vehicle.
The "tinny doors" comment jumped out at me. Do others agree?
#23 of 32 Re: Not that innovative... [loek]
Feb 02, 2013 (3:29 am)
I love the car but why the long wait.
Feb 08, 2013 (8:21 pm)
Drove in a small caravan of new Spark's from Lauderdale airport to a Hertz in Clearwater today and for what it is, it's not bad at all! It drove respectfully though it is a little noisy in the cabin from the overworked engine but once up around cruising speed, 70, it quieted down some. Wish the seat fabric was a bit more grippy and softer like the Kia Rio and the Hyundai Accent but at this price point one can overlook this shortcoming. The dash was interesting and tilted with the steering wheel and it looks like it was taken off a motorcycle. It was pretty basic inside though these models had cruise and Sirius/XM, a very nice touch indeed! It made the long drive pleasant but we had to put in a few bucks of petrol just to reach our destination. Granted with 6 miles on the clock, the engine is brand new and not seated properly so getting optimal mileage numbers isn't going to happen but still, those last few bars disappeared rather quickly. The sheet metal is a bit interesting but since these are made just for the rental fleet, it doesn't really matter. The car felt a bit wobbly on the highway but that could be due to improper tire inflation and nothing with the car itself as it did ride on 195/55/15 rubber. One knows that this is a small econocar by just opening the doors but it has all the basics needed plus the above mentioned extra goodies that people who rent require.
Overall, Chevy did a respectable job with this small rental fare vehicle, most folks want a low priced rental and this car definitely fits the bill here. Not as primitive as a Flintstone car but no one will expect Lexus quality ride and switchgear at this bargain price...it hits it's stated target with an almost bulls eye! Chevy and GM...ya done good here!
#25 of 32 Re: New Spark Owner, under 12K OTD [amoobrasil]
Feb 15, 2013 (7:49 pm)
I will say after driving the car it's very competitive to even the B-class cars as well as Micro Cars. Honestly for it's price it can't be beaten. I test drove a Spark with the automatic and it achieved a 34 average. That's much better than the Sonic's 1.8L average! Overall I'd agree that it may be the next "People's Car".
#26 of 32 Re: New Spark Owner, under 12K OTD [cartalk13]
Feb 15, 2013 (8:04 pm)
This car does drive nicely though I prefer the Hyundai Accent my kid has, it just feels more substantial on the road. But the one I drove had cruise and sat radio but it was one in a rental fleet and these things are expected now whatever the price point. I was wrong and saw that this car is for sale to the general public so instead of a used car, it might make sense for folks to just buy a new one and have the factory warranty to boot. This car kept up on I-75 and I never felt unsafe at all. It had enough power though it did get pretty noisy in the cabin when it was called upon and I made sure I had plenty of open space to do any kind of passing manuever. Not the prettiest on the planet but not offensive looking either. Just good basic transportation for a decent and fair price. The unit I drove was brand new so it did require more fuel than one whose engine is already broken in and seated properly. The fuel gauge dropped quickly which necessitated an uncalled for petrol stop though as it turned out I could've gotten to my destination with just "1" bar left but I didn't feel that was appropriate with a brand new vehicle so I stopped and added a few gallons just to be on the safe side as after all, once it leaves rental duty, someone is going to buy it so why do bad things to a brand new car. Just wish more folks would treat rentals like their personal vehicles and not abuse them or mess them up. I treat every rental I drive like it was my own!
#27 of 32 Tyres for the Spark
Feb 16, 2013 (12:44 pm)
There is one down side to the Spark we own an LT had it 2 year now and it has been very reliable untill now. It went in for a service and came back with just one small problem its front tyres were worn past the legal limit here in the uk. Easy to sort you would think well no it has proven to be very difficult to get new tyres for the car it has goodyear duragrip 165/60/15/t tyres and there are none available in the UK with a waiting list of 6 months very disappointed in the manufacturer not even the dealership can get these tyres
#28 of 32 Spark rental
May 01, 2013 (8:20 am)
I got to drive a nearly-new (500 miles) Spark around the San Diego area this week. When I saw the car sitting there in the rental lot, I almost went to get a replacement but decided I'd give it a go. Here's my impressions:
* Solid structure, pretty smooth ride for such a small car.
* Fun to toss around, neutral in corners.
* Pretty nice interior for such an inexpensive car. A lot of hard plastic, but nice textures e.g. piano black trim around center console and some faux aluminum trim on the dash and doors.
* Seat material looks durable--a tight nylon-type weave vs. cloth.
* Room for 2 large kids or average-sized adults in back, at least for short distances. Chevy wisely decided to not put in a center seatbelt--really no room for 3. But much more room for 2 than in cars like the Fiesta.
* Back seat bottom cushion folds forward to make a nearly flat cargo floor.
* Fancy iPod-like audio interface with touch screen... I'm sure young people will like it.
* Grippy steering wheel with cruise and audio controls.
* Simple rotary HVAC controls.
* Can park it ANYWHERE!
* Not much grunt. In flat, urban areas I expect it would do just fine. In hilly areas and freeways with grades (like San Diego), not so fine. Engine is loud and revs high getting up even small hills.
* Driving position isn't the best. Steering column tilts but doesn't telescope, dead pedal is too far back (due to intrusive wheel well) and height adjuster is limited, making it hard to find a comfy driving position. Try before you buy.
* Styling is love it/hate it kind of thing.
Mostly due to the engine performance and driving position limitations, I'd go with something like an Accent or Rio or Soul before springing for a Spark. But for someone who wants tiny 4-seater for around town use and needs a hatch for a low price, might be a good choice.
#29 of 32 Re: Spark rental [backy]
May 01, 2013 (2:15 pm)
Totally agree with your take here. Have driven a few and the time I took one over to Tampa, it did very well except needed to make a petrol stop which was disappointing. Also like the Accent/Rio much better as they are just more car for the money. Am trying to convince the wife that she needs to stay in the compact size instead of moving down like she wants to...don't think she'll be happy in the long run...I know I'll like it much better but I don't drive her vehicle much.