Chevy to unveil 2016 Spark

Chevy will unwrap the new Spark concurrently at New York, Seoul auto shows

General Motors said it will unveil a 2016 Chevrolet Spark on April 2 at concurrent auto shows in New York and Seoul.

The subcompact is being repositioned as a "sleeker, more aerodynamic" vehicle, the company said, aiming for a customer interested in a more traditional design.

Could a new Spark electric vehicle be part of the 2016 lineup? GM won't say.

The Spark news comes less than two months after GM's announcement that it will build the new Chevy Bolt, an electric car that can travel 200 miles between charges and sell in the low $30,000 range, after government incentives.

GM executives said the spacious four-door hatchback Bolt will go on sale in 2017.

That announcement charged up auto industry spectators, who predicted such a vehicle could easily sell 100,000 units a year and make electric vehicles a real alternative for many American drivers.

The Bolt will join an expected improved version of the Chevy Volt. The two vehicles, plus a Spark EV, could strengthen GM's position among U.S. electric vehicle producers.

GM said it has sold 1.1 million Sparks, globally, since introducing the subcompact, in India, in 2009. The company sells more Sparks in South Korea than anywhere else -- which explains why Seoul is one of the unveiling platforms -- followed by the U.S. and Mexico, the company said.

GM unveiled the first electric Spark in 2012, at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The first version, a model year 2013, offered 130 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, and was advertised as one of the fastest electric vehicles on the market.

Stateside, the 2015 Spark EV has a starting MSRP of just under $20,000, excluding tax and destination charges. It boasts a range of 82 miles between charges.

GM did not release pricing information on the 2016 model.

Though non-hybrid electric vehicles have struggled to find a place in the U.S. car market, the segment is increasingly crowded with consumer choices.

Top drawer Tesla's Model S has been joined at the high end by the BMW i3 and the Mercedes-Benz B-class sedans, while at the middle to lower end of the price spread are less expensive electrics like the Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul, Toyota RAV 4 EV, Fiat 500e, Volkswagen e-GOlf, Ford Focus Electric and Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

Twitter: @misterfleming

 

 

 

 

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