The big news from GM these days is the new 2012 Volt, where June reports show the company is dropping the price to $39,995 for the next model year. This represents a discount of $1000 over last year’s model. But with electric cars still on the very fringe of consumer affordability, Chevy also has some other fuel-efficient options on the horizon that seem to be getting a lot less attention.
Myopic auto industry analysts who are only looking at the Volt may be missing the big picture, and a lot of this is related to the huge appeal of a past GM project, an idea that is still very present in the minds of some drivers. That project was Geo, a collaboration between Toyota and Chevrolet that produced a popular line of fuel efficient vehicles back in the 80s and 90s, before green was cool.
The solid Geo Prizm and the subcompact Geo Metro were well known for delivering upwards of 30 mpg in an age when less Americans cared about gas prices. Lots of drivers were disappointed when the last Prizms rolled off of the line in 2002. It seemed like there was a market gap for GM, and that market gap started to look pretty big as customers started gravitating toward gas-sippers.
So what else does General Motors have for today’s customer besides the Volt? For one thing, there’s the Chevrolet Cruze – we’ve been reporting on the big demand around this model, which now includes a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco, a car estimated to get over 40 mpg on highway (and about 28 mpg in city). Customers are taking a long look at this competitive sedan, which, as models become available on the pre-owned market, can start to become accessible to drivers without an enormous budget for vehicle purchases.
But that’s not all the auto maker has up its sleeve – news from Edmunds.com and other resources shows that another car, the subcompact Chevrolet Sonic, is in pre-production for release later this year. The 2011 Chevrolet Sonic will also get over 40 mpg on highway, rivaling some of the efficiency of hybrids and plug-ins on the market. So next time someone who’s pining for the Geo Prizm or Geo Metro tells you there’s nothing like it on today’s market, kindly point them in the right direction.