The inexpensive small car has become even more endangered in the U.S., with the Chevrolet Trax and Buick Encore as the latest to reportedly end production. GM’s smallest and most affordable crossover SUVs will be discontinued at the end of the model year, multiple sources reported this week.
GM was characteristically coy about the reports.
“Chevy will continue to offer five distinct SUVs in the U.S. and Canada going forward,” spokesperson Kellie Van Maele said in an email. “Beyond that, we cannot confirm future product plans at this time.”
Assuming the full-size Tahoe and Suburban are not included in that distinction, Chevy currently sells the Trax, Trailblazer, Equinox, Blazer, and Traverse, with electric versions of the Equinox and Blazer planned for 2023.
Regardless of GM’s official take, the Trax and Encore were on life support. GM had been divesting in both models by limiting trims and feature offerings in recent years. Last year, the top Premier trim level was canceled on the 2021 Chevrolet Trax, leaving only the LS and LT trims. The Premium Seating Package was discontinued this year, according to GM Authority. Similarly, the 2022 Buick Encore had been stripped down to only the Preferred trim. Neither vehicle was equipped with standard automatic emergency braking; most major automakers including GM agreed to equip at least 95% of new vehicles sold with the crash-reducing and life-saving feature by September of this year.
2022 Buick Encore
GM was one of the first automakers to offer a subcompact crossover. With the Encore launched in 2013, and the Trax in 2015, both models had grown old and been supplanted by newer, larger more competitive models. Resurrecting an old nameplate, GM launched the Chevy Trailblazer in 2021, and Buick didn’t hide its intent with the Encore GX that launched in the same year. The new models were objectively superior in most metrics and subjectively better. And the starting prices weren’t that far off.
Being early to market was still paying dividends for GM, who sold 42,590 Trax in 2021 and 20,072 Encore in the U.S. last year. The larger models should absorb that volume without much of a price increase, but also likely without dealer incentives.
The 2022 Chevy Trax LS with front-wheel drive costs $21,400; a similarly equipped 2022 Trailblazer costs $21,800, excluding destination. Buick inverts the pricing scheme, essentially incentivizing the purchase of the GX: the 2022 Buick Encore Preferred starts at $24,600; the 2022 Encore GX Preferred costs $24,400.
With the end of the Chevy Spark after 2022, that marks the end of being able to buy a new Chevy for less than $20,000.