DETROIT -- It’s the year of the small car for General Motors as the automaker prepares to debut tricked-out Chevrolet Sonic subcompacts and Cruze compacts next week at the Specialty Equipment Market Association show.
Chevrolet will showcase 51 vehicles at the show, set for Nov. 1-4 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas.
GM says 60 percent of its display vehicles will be small cars, including 21 Chevrolet Sonics and 10 of the company’s best-selling Cruze cars.
“The Sonic really lends itself to the performance side of things,” said Cristi Landy, director of small cars for Chevrolet. “We’re trying to make it the a la carte vehicle for consumers.”
The Sonic went on sale this fall and is built in Lake Orion, Mich., while the Cruze is built in Lordstown, Ohio.
Landy said the most popular specialty package for the Sonic and Cruze is the Z-Spec series, where differences are evident in the cars’ ground effects and paneling, wheels, rear spoilers and grilles.
Chevrolet introduced its Z-Spec lineup at SEMA last year, but enthusiasts can expect this year’s lineup to be sportier and a step closer to fruition, Landy said.
The changes, she said, could be available for 2013 models.
“Everyone wants to stand out from the crowd, but not everyone knows how,” said Adam Barry, senior creative designer for the Corvette and Camaro.
Accessorized Camaros and Corvettes will be at SEMA as well, though company experts are finding a growing demand for personalization and modification of sedans.
“The nice thing with accessories is customers can come back to their dealer,” Landy said. “They’re important to generate excitement around vehicles and for people to get excited to come to the dealer.”
Though each car’s modifications are unique, many of the changes are based on meeting a demand for sporty yet functional parts -- a demand that outside suppliers have historically met faster than the automakers themselves.
Said Barry: “When we can make our accessory portfolios on our cars, there’s a quality behind it that no one can touch.”