The popularity of sub-compact cars is on the rise.
Until recently, sub-compact cars have not fared very well in America. The SUV has been king for some time now but its position of dominance might not be as secure as it used to be. This does not mean that small cars will come to dominate American highways the way they have in Europe, but they are getting a lot more respect these days.
It’s not hard to figure out the reason behind the rise in popularity of the smaller cars. It’s the rise in gas prices. It’s not uncommon for motorists to turn to smaller cars when gas prices increase because smaller cars tend to get better gas milage. Car manufacturers are wise to provide affordable cars at the smaller size not only for this reason but it is a great way to get young, first time car owners. This can help build up your brand, especially if these young buyers are loyal later in life.
Many foreign car manufacturers started out primarily making sub-compacts and still excel at doing it today. However, the North American “Big Three” (GM, Ford, Daimler Chrysler) have a lot to learn. Peter Johnson pointed out some shortcomings in a recent article.
Toyota has introduced the Yaris, Hyundai has significantly revised the Accent, Kia has updated the Rio, Honda has just introduced the Fit, and Nissan will introduce the Versa in May of this year. And let’s not forget Scion with the xA and xB.
The Chevrolet Aveo is essentially a re-badged Daewoo and doesn’t offer the level of refinement as the others. The Ford Focus is larger and more expensive, as is the new for ‘06 Dodge Caliber.
Many of our North American manufacturers have been in decline recently. Maybe a new fleet of small fuel-efficient cars could be a step in the right direction for these companies. I want to see them succeed, but if they don’t provide consumers with what they need, the consumers will go elsewhere.
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