GM Sonic
U.S. President Barack Obama waves to workers as he and South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak (L) tour the General Motors Orion assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan October 14, 2011. The plant produces the new Chevrolet Sonic sub-compact car (background) which is a joint venture with GM Korea. REUTERS

General Motors Co will unveil next month a sporty version of its Chevrolet Sonic subcompact car for the 2013 model year in a bid to make the 100-year-old brand more appealing to younger buyers.

Among the features on the 2013 Chevy Sonic RS, which will be showcased at the Detroit auto show next month, are a seven-inch color touch screen radio, heated front seats and 17-inch wheels.

The car, which has a base price of $14,495, also allows drivers to use navigation applications on their smart phones and project those directions on the screen.

The No. 1 U.S. automaker hopes such features will entice buyers under 35 years of age, or the so-called millenial generation. The Sonic is also a key piece of GM's plan to shift from big SUVs and pickup trucks toward small cars on the cusp of a projected boom in the market for subcompact cars.

IHS Automotive expects the subcompact segment will more than double by 2016 to 925,000 cars a year. Other cars in this segment include the Ford Motor Co Fiesta, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent and Toyota Yaris.

The Sonic takes the place of the Aveo subcompact and is the only subcompact built in the United States. This was made possible by a more flexible agreement forged between GM and the United Auto Workers union.

The deal allows GM to hire more workers that earn wages on the entry-level scale at its Lake Orion plant near Detroit. The plant also differs from most GM factories because suppliers are located on the site which lowers costs.