Chevrolet has made the decision to drop the Chevy Spark after the current 2022 model year. General Motors, Chevy’s parent company, will officially cease production of this subcompact, low-priced hatchback on August 31st of this year. The final order cycle for 2022 Chevy Spark will occur on June 16th, meaning this summer will mark the last models entering production.
There’s already speculation about what comes next. GM’s Changwon production facility in South Korea is terminating the Spark, but where will they turn next? After all, Changwon isn’t shutting down, nor has General Motors stopped investing in it. Instead, the facility will be refurbished for a new order: a brand-new GM hatchback.
If this sounds like a successor to the Chevy Spark, you may be on the right track. GM hasn’t made any official announcements about their next hatchback or its most alluring features such as electric powertrain, off-road capability, etc. However, we do at least know to expect a crossover hatchback. This should be no surprise, given that Chevy is now primarily a truck and SUV brand.
Those who have heard the big news about the Spark may hesitate to take home another. Why should one drive a vehicle in its final year? What does that say about maintenance costs down the line or dealership availability? There are several perks and potential drawbacks when auto brands choose to discontinue a vehicle.
Overview of the Spark
The 2022 Chevy Spark is the latest and final entry for this subcompact hatchback. It’s small enough to feel breezy in tight traffic, while it’s just roomy enough to seat 4. Modern colors and textures define this smart vehicle inside and out, and its rounded body still feels aerodynamic. Sharp steering and a compact body (with handy features like parking assist added) make this an agile associate to navigate dense roadways.
Sure, it’s not the fastest car you can buy—a 1.4-L EcoTec I-4 engine that produces up to 98 horsepower and 94 lb-ft of torque. However, you don’t take home a Spark for its performance ratings. The biggest draw? 2022 Sparks start at an MSRP under $15,000. This jaw-dropping price is a rarity when shopping new; even some used vehicles cost far more.
The value proposition is strong with this one. Despite its low price, a Spark feels fresh, modern, and enhanced. Even if you have to pay to get active safety tech and superior upholstery, you’re still paying far less for this than other low-cost Chevys like the Trailblazer and Trax. Plus, with an average mileage rating of 33 mpg, long-term savings warrant consideration.
Will This Affect Sales?
It’s not possible to completely predict what will happen with the Spark; however, sales figures from 2021 (courtesy of GM Authority) indicate a boost in sales figures throughout North America. Oddly enough, though, sales for the Spark have been low in its host country of South Korea. However, the Spark has repeatedly performed as a top seller in its segment of compact city cars, rivaling similar offerings from Fiat and Mitsubishi.
Plus, despite being put out to pasture, the Spark isn’t avoiding notice. Ratings from dominant outlets have been significantly positive toward the new Spark. So, there’s no reason to infer that Chevy has given this last go of the Spark minimal effort. Sure, there have been few updates from the 2021 entry, but the modernized, new aesthetic offerings and updated infotainment system are attractive enough to appeal to many urban commuters.
However, the public may have some hesitation in purchasing a discontinued vehicle. Certain myths in the market are pre-eminent. These include the notion that one may have trouble finding replacement parts for a discontinued vehicle. Most auto brands, General Motors brands included, will continue to produce replacement parts for vehicles, even after the car itself ends production.
Also, Chevy has designed their lineup so that many engine, interior, and body parts are cross-compatible. Ten years or so down the line, these parts may be in short supply, but this only affects specific components. Maintenance costs shouldn’t rise from some false scramble to figure out the Spark like some ancient relic that needs translation. If a mechanic tosses you a line that discontinued cars are more expensive to service, parts ordering aside, find a new one.
Another blow to consumer confidence—many feel that a discontinued vehicle enters high demand status. How can you possibly get your hands on a 2022 Spark when the public as a whole is after it? Consider this a case study in the diffusion of responsibility. When more people are hesitant to purchase a car, fewer people do.
Of course, Chevy dealerships will likely offer great deals on a vehicle in its final year. They may be eager to get a product off their lots to make space for a new, high-interest pet. Therefore, now might actually be the best time to consider a 2022 Spark.
Why the Cease in Production?
Good question! Only an inner circle of execs would know why. Some suspect that recent labor union activities in South Korea may have motivated GM to terminate Spark production. However, GM is repurposing this plant for the production of another vehicle.
While there may have been unpublicized changes or reductions in staffing, disagreements over labor conflicts would more likely motivate GM to close the plant entirely. They have recently clarified that they will be continuing their work in South Korea. Further, this facility is currently producing Chevy’s mini trucks—the Damas and Labo. Consider this myth busted.
In reality, GM may be choosing to reinvent the Spark and rebrand it accordingly, rather than terminating it entirely. We know that a new vehicle is on the horizon. Could Chevy be promoting something entirely revolutionary, as they did when they recently introduced the first-ever electric Silverado—an industry trailblazer? It’s not impossible, but there are stronger theories as to what’s next.
A Spiritual Successor
Of course, the Spark’s little swan song doesn’t spell the end for small hatchbacks in the Chevrolet lineup. Although, one might jump to the conclusion that mini hatchbacks are a goner. After all, Chevrolet has stuffed its lineup with SUVs and pickups in exchange for carrying only one sedan, two performance cars, and two electric cars as of 2022. Chevy actually produces more commercial trucks than all types of cars combined. Even then, there are expiration dates on the Malibu and Camaro as well.
To reiterate, General Motors’ South Korean plant is in the works to produce yet another crossover. It’s safe to assume that despite the body style change, from subcompact to crossover, this newbie to the GM family may be a spiritual successor to the Spark. It may be visually dynamic, ultra-affordable, and oriented for city commuting.
So, even as the Spark fades into the halls of Chevrolet history, what comes next may not be too far off. Hopefully, it maintains this sharp vehicle’s contemporary touches—or incorporates them into a fresh design. For example, the patterned contrast trim plate across the instrument panel available in a variety of colors is a definite keeper. The prominent digital cluster and metallic accents around the center console controls (including the infotainment screen) are distinctly sophisticated and urban.
We also hope that premium colors like Mystic Blue, Nitro Yellow, and Cayenne Orange are here to stay. Colorful wheel inserts, keyless handles, sporty branded premium floor mats, and other unique touches of personality are vital Spark features that Chevy should keep. The Spark’s cabin feels fun and immersive, and we hope to see more entries like it.
Whatever comes next, recent figures indicate that GM will produce 270,000 units of this upcoming mystery vehicle—until it reaches maximum capacity. Based on sales performance, these figures may change dramatically in the near future.
In the meantime, you can expect the 2022 Spark to take on a sort of novelty appeal. It’s the last entry, after all. Whatever is coming next will bring significant updates—not the least of which is a new name. The Spark added a, well, a spark of youthful personality into a hardy, rough-and-tumble auto brand. We can only hope that the 2022 Chevy Spark’s replacement fills this gap in the market.