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Posted at 2:01 PM ET, 01/10/2011

GM unveils Chevrolet Sonic

By Peter Whoriskey

General Motors is showing off its new small car here at the Detroit auto show, the Chevrolet Sonic, trying to impress the public with its "agile ride" and "turbocharged performance."

But the real wow factor behind the Sonic may be that General Motors is planning to build it in the U.S., and with union labor.

For years, the Big Three automakers have said union wage rates are too high for them to make money building small cars in the U.S.

G.M. made its previous subcompact, the Aveo, in South Korea. Ford is making its subcompact, the Fiesta, in Mexico. Likewise, Chrylser partner, Fiat, will make its new Fiat 500 in Mexico.

But the Sonic will be assembled in Orion, Mich., with union labor. The union has agreed to make a significant concession, however. About 40 percent of the more than 1,000 workers at the plant will make only $14 an hour, while their colleagues under the typical wage structure will be making $28.

"Chevrolet is the only company building a small car in the United States," Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet marketing, said in the announcement. "We believe the Sonic will bring substance to the segment, with progressive styling, performance and value that will change perceptions of what a small car can be in America."

By Peter Whoriskey  | January 10, 2011; 2:01 PM ET
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Next: Economic agenda: Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011


$14 a an hour, while not great is still a living wage in most factory towns. Good for the union to do this.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

haha cannot believe the fiat 500 is coming to the US. classic car

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

It appears that after years of contention that GM and Union members have agreed that is order to keep jobs in the US they must find common grounds. Kudos.

Posted by: pjohn2 | January 10, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm waiting for GM to bring back the Pontiac G8 (especially the G8 GXP, with it's Corvette small-block V-8) as a Chevy. Rumors are this will happen. Thought it might be the Sonic.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

It is great that the jobs are staying in the states. Kuddos!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Good for GM for at least building in the US. As much as Ford is praised for not taking bailout money, many of its hottest products are built in Mexico. I like Ford, but I wish they would build more in the US. American jobs are more important tome than than the profitability or independence of a comapny.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2011 5:46 PM | Report abuse

"I'm waiting for GM to bring back the Pontiac G8 (especially the G8 GXP, with it's Corvette small-block V-8) as a Chevy. Rumors are this will happen. Thought it might be the Sonic."

They did this, it's called the Camaro!

Posted by: byxnet | January 10, 2011 6:53 PM | Report abuse

This is great, a turbocharged compact from GM.
I loved my turbocharghed Corvair convertible 6 days a week. It's engine self-destructed every 7 to 10 days, however. It's repairs cost more that my salary, and I had to get rid of it, as I wasn't a millionaire.
Between blown engines, I loved it.
Good luck small, made-in-America by unions, GM turbocharged buyers. You're going to need it.

Posted by: llrllr | January 10, 2011 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Made in the USA!!!!! Wow!

Posted by: bg1fan1 | January 10, 2011 8:14 PM | Report abuse

GM would be best served to work with the union to become, at least partially, employee-owned.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2011 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for some good news.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2011 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous is momvera who doesn't use Flash Player on an iMac.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2011 8:37 PM | Report abuse

We have bought GM autos exclusively since we were teenagers. 30-35 years of GM loyalty went up in smoke after witnessing the behavior of unions in the last elections. While I still support other made in America products we are done purchasing GM vehciles. The behavior of both UFCW and SIEU also reflects back on the UAW. I'm sorry UAW but you need to explain to your union buddies that their behavior costs you auto sales and jobs.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | January 10, 2011 10:00 PM | Report abuse

piece o' junk.

Posted by: schickelgruber | January 10, 2011 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Wow! A celebration of the further decline in America's standard of living. I am not sure that someone making $14/hour can afford to buy a new car without a 10 year loan. Hope the cars last that long.

Posted by: amazd | January 10, 2011 10:39 PM | Report abuse

how can someone call a car a piece of junk when they haven't driven or seen the car in person?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2011 1:40 AM | Report abuse

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