First Look: Chevrolet Sonic Z-Spec Concept

Chevy launching mass customization program with new Sonic subcompact.

by on Apr.14, 2011

Chevy will unveil the Sonic Z-Spec Concept in New York next week, then offer an array of Z-Spec accessories when the new car goes into production later this year.

Chevrolet will pull the wraps off the Sonic Z-Spec Concept at next week’s New York Auto Show.  If you don’t quite like the flying hamburger design shown here, don’t worry, the maker plans to offer a wide array of custom styling options when the new subcompact comes to market later this year.

Chevy planners are betting that they can increase the appeal of the Sonic, one of an assortment of new small cars, by “providing a big canvas so customers can truly personalize (the car) and make it their own,” explains marketing chief Margaret Brooks.

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The new Z-Spec program will expand to take in other new models, including the even smaller Chevy Spark, Brooks told

The Z-Spec Concept that will appear in the Big Apple will feature a variety of custom details, including rocker and fascia extensions, ground effects, chrome exhaust tips, color caps for the outside mirrors, white wheels and that distinctive body wrap.

Chevy plans to make Z-Spec accessories available for a wide range of products.

Aimed at a young buyers that wants more than just an econobox, Chevy is looking for ways to stand out in a crowded segment currently dominated by Asian imports.  The maker has clearly taken some tips from Mini, which used an extensive catalogue of custom features to help build its brand.

“Customization is an important part of the business model,” acknowledges Brooks.

It will not only help “bring them into the door” of Chevrolet showrooms, but it should also help the General Motors division improve profit margins in a product segment that traditionally has lost money for domestic makers, the executive acknowledges.

The Sonic will be the only domestic small car produced in the U.S., replacing the old, Korean-made Chevy Aveo.  GM officials decided the old name didn’t have much drawing power, especially since even they couldn’t agree with the correct way to pronounce its name.

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