Buying a new car for under $20,000 is about to get even harder. GM’s cheapest passenger vehicle, the 2022 Chevy Spark will cease production at the end of this summer, GM confirmed Tuesday in a report by CarsDirect. The subcompact hatchback was the only new car sold with a starting price below $15,000, including destination.
Meanwhile, the average new car price paid by consumers in 2021 more than tripled that amount to $45,283. The discontinuation of the Spark suggests customers don’t want budget cars, yet Chevy sold 24,460 Sparks in 2021, which is more than most luxury models.
Higher margins and the pivot from cars to crossovers might be the driving force behind Chevy’s decision. When Chevy douses the Spark at the end of August 2022, only the Malibu mid-size sedan will remain, costing $8,670 more than the Spark. It’s believed that the Malibu won’t be around much longer either, following the Ford Fusion, Chrysler 200, and Mazda 6 into the great highway in the sky.
That will leave Chevy with no cars but nine crossovers and SUVs, starting with the entry level Chevy Trax that costs $22,595, including a $1,195 destination fee. It has an automatic transmission instead of the Spark’s manual, but all-wheel drive costs extra.
There are still a couple of new cars on sale this year that cost less than $20,000, including the 2022 Nissan Versa ($16,055) and 2022 Mitsubishi Mirage ($16,125). Affordability and value are the main reasons the 2022 Ford Maverick hybrid pickup truck ($21,490) won our Best Car To Buy 2022 award, but the model proved popular enough for Ford to close orders until this summer when production catches up with demand. Some shoppers might be able to track one down on dealer lots before then.
For now, the 2022 Chevy Spark remains the cheapest new car on sale in the U.S., with a starting price of $14,595, including destination, and a top price of $19,095. Its charms include good fuel economy at 33 mpg combined and fold-down rear seats that increase cargo space.