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GM Starts Production of 2012 Chevy Sonic

The first batch of 2012 Chevrolet Sonic vehicles rolled out of General Motor's Orion Assembly Plant yesterday. The Sonic is Chevy's answer to the highly competitive subcompact market that includes the sporty Mazda2 and the pint-sized Fiat 500.

Ken Knight, executive director of global and North America Manufacturing Engineering for GM, attended an automotive conference today at Traverse City, Michigan where he shared the Sonic's update with The Detroit News. "Since my phone hasn't rung off the hook, I think we are doing well," Knight said.

The Sonic is set to arrive at dealerships this October and it can't come soon enough. With fuel prices still at high levels, demand for fuel-sipping subcompacts  is strong once again. The Detroit News reports that 196,000 small cars were sold during the first half of 2011, compared to 140,000 during the same period last year.

And consumers are demanding more out of subcompacts other than just being a fuel miser. The Ford Fiesta, for example, can be had with such niceties such as leather seats and push-button start. The current Aveo, however, is decidedly cheap and buzzy. We had a chance to drive the 2012 Sonic a few months ago and we expect it to be a strong contender in the segment with an available 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and commendable driving dynamics. It will also be competitively priced with a base MSRP of $14,495, which is slightly higher than the Fiesta ($13,995), but lower than the Honda Fit ($15,870).