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The 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV is introduced at the LA Auto Show. It's the smallest vehicle in the entire GM lineup. It's all-electric. And its shows that GM is at long last taking small cars seriously.
Two concepts that, a decade ago, few would have uttered in the same breath. GM had left the small car market for dead. While it focused on trucks and SUVs and their nice, fat, profit margins, and also dedicated itself to turning Cadillac into a high-performance brand while simultaneously saving Buick, it left low-margin small cars to Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai, and Kia.
Honda and Toyota got started in the U.S. market with small cars, so they always knew what they were doing. Hyundai and Kia, the South Korean upstarts, simply copied the Japanese playbook.
Then the financial crisis struck. The federal government bailed out GM, then the company went bankrupt. Somewhere amid one of its numerous pre-Chapter 11 restructurings, GM got religion on small cars.
Consumers can see this on vivid display at the L.A. Auto Show this week and into the weekend. I don't think I've seen so many small cars in the GM display area since...well, ever.
Or more accurately, at the Chevy booth. Chevy is GM's mass-market brand and that's where it's executing a small-car strategy. GM has plastered it all over the outside of the Convention Center, with a huge banner featuring Chevy's small-car lineup: Cruze, Sonic, and Spark.
One of the big debuts at the L.A. Auto Show is the all-electric version of the Spark.
DeBord Report : LA Auto Show: With Chevy Cruze, Sonic, and Spark, GM has cracked the code on small cars | 89.3 KPCC