The Truth About Cars » A-Segment The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 16:57:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » A-Segment Volvo, Geely Aiming For BMW, Mercedes With A-Segment Lineup Fri, 07 Mar 2014 17:52:49 +0000 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Exterior-005

Volvo, with parent company Geely, is developing a lineup of premium A-segment vehicles aimed at the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class.

Edmunds reports the upcoming lineup will include a five-door crossover, a sedan and a hatchback, and will also offer the opportunity for Geely to sell their wares in the United States while offering a similar lineup in its home market.

Under the bonnet will be a range of engines driving either the front or all four wheels, including gasoline, diesel and their respective hybrid pairings, all based upon Volvo’s current four-cylinder engine family.

The A-segment joint venture will be based upon the upcoming Compact Modular Architecture developed in their China Euro Vehicle Technology research and development center, with the first cars due in 2017 at the earliest.

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Smaller Jeep To Slot Beneath Renegade Thu, 06 Mar 2014 14:00:39 +0000 Jeep-Renegade-18

Though the Jeep Renegade already bowed at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show, the off-road brand has plans for not only a fullsize SUV similar to the discontinued Commander, but an A segment SUV slotted beneath the Renegade, as well.

Auto Express reports the A segment vehicle could possibly be underpinned by the next-generation Fiat 500, though would face greater engineering challenges than those faced by the Renegade — built upon Fiat’s “small-wide” archecture underpinning the upcoming 500X — to make it Rubicon-ready, as Jeep boss Mike Manley explained:

We couldn’t make an SUV off of “small wide” as you can’t get the ground clearance. It was completely changed by Jeep engineers so now it’s “small wide 4×4″ architecture.

The A segment Jeep could also aid in bringing the brand into compliance with increasing CO2 emissions standards, though the improvement drive — much like the vehicle itself — will be a long, hard road to hew:

There’s relentless pressure to reduce CO2 and there’s much more for us to do. We’re trying to stay away from complexity and improvements are slowly coming.

Meanwhile, Manley’s focus is toward the Grand Wagoneer, which will slot above the Grand Cherokee. The fullsize SUV will boast room for seven and “be bigger than the old Commander” made between 2006 and 2010.

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Montreal Has Monopoly On A-Segment Debuts Thu, 09 Jan 2014 17:40:20 +0000 Nissan-MarchK13 (2)

The often-ignored Montreal Auto Show will have two major debuts, both A-segment cars that may not make it past the 49th parallel. According to, Mitsubishi will debut a production-ready version of the G4 concept, aka a Mirage sedan, while Nissan will show off a Canadian-spec Micra. The diminutive Micra will likely slot below the Versa Note in size, but perhaps be positioned as a chic city car, to compete with the Fiat 500.

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Generation Why: Chevrolet Pours Water On The Spark Thu, 26 Jul 2012 15:58:35 +0000

Chevrolet is slowly launching the Spark subcompact in select markets across the United States, with more MTV/Viacom-derived “millenial focused” ad campaigns. But Chevrolet is being cagey, if not evasive, regarding projected sales.

GM is planning a whole slew of tie-ins with the music/entertainment network to help promote the Spark. According to the Detroit News

“For more than a year, GM and its largest brand have been working with MTV Scratch, a Viacom consulting company, on creative ways to reach millennial consumers.

The Spark will be featured on MTV websites such as MTV Iggy in a promotion involving new music and emerging artists, Landy said. The company will use Facebook, other MTV sites and social platforms to bring people to MTV Iggy for the promotion.”

A couple things jump out here

1) What the hell is MTV Iggy? I’m apparently the target market for this car (young, urban etc.) and I have never heard of it. A quick search reveals that it’s a platform to introduce American listeners to music from around the globe. When One Direction and Katy Perry are topping the charts, the zeitgeist may not be sophisticated enough to support Canto-pop or bailie funk, and the people interested in those genres would not ever want to be associated with the MTV brand.

2) Facebook? What happened to GM and Facebook breaking up? And what kind of efficacy is there with respect to Facebook marketing? Past explorations have yielded a consistent answer – not much.

The least promising sign of the whole project is GM’s refusal to release any kind of sales projections for the Spark. Despite GM’s assertion that “…we are very confident this Spark will be very popular”, they’re not willing to make any kind of prediction. The Detroit News quotes a Kelly Blue Book analyst projecting between 500 to 1,000 sales per month – for a company like GM, that’s a rounding error. The Spark is destined to languish in Smart ForTwo territory.

The only two customers profiled in the Spark story are 30 and 51 years old respectively. 30 is pushing it for a Millennial. 51 might as well be the parent of one. The 51-year-old, a former Ford employee who was laid off a couple of years ago, simply wanted a cheap to car commute with, while the 30-year-old wanted to ditch his V8 Cadillac.

The Spark is going to be a tough sell ; a Sonic or even a Honda Civic is only a few thousand dollars more, gets better EPA numbers and offers a lot more space, power and content (though they don’t have the Spark’s cool touch screen infotainment system). Second, Americans have a historic aversion to small cars, and the A-segment Spark is about as palatable to them as a Jewish King is to Saudi Arabians.

Furthermore, the millennial demographic that Chevrolet is targeting is not going to go for this car. The key concept for anyone targeting this group is aspirational. Job prospects may be bleak, living at home after college may be common but constant viewing of Sex and the City and Entourage (depending on your gender), along with the excesses of the past decade has helped Generation Why get acclimated to frivolity and luxury. Some people are secure enough to just go and buy a Cruze; that doesn’t mean that the “used 3-Series” crowd has died off.

Hyundai gets this instinctively (and Ford is starting to pick up on it as well). Whether it’s an Elantra, a Sonata or a Genesis, their products look like something that costs more than it should. The average consumer will have no shame in declaring their desire for a Hyundai because it “looks like a Benz”. We’ve explored how Chevrolet can capitalize on this, with something like a Cruze-based coupe that could be an S5 at a distance. Unfortunately, nothing says “poverty” like a tiny hatchback painted in a HI-LITER shade.

So who is going to buy the Spark? If past experiments like the Honda Element and Scion xB1 are anything to go by, they will likely be similar to the initial customers; older folks, secure with their station in life, who just want frugal, practical transportation. There’s nothing wrong with that; perhaps there’s even something honorable in that pursuit. The problem is that Generation Y (myself included) are too stupid to realize that, and all we want to do is impress our friends and whatever sex we are attracted to.

My one unanswered question remains; why does GM insist on paying significant sums of money to a bunch of charlatans for lame ad campaigns that blatantly pander to the most cynical, hard-to-reach consumers of all…and for a vehicle that may sell 12,000 units per year, based on optimistic projections?

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Chevrolet Spark Pricing Will Undercut Sonic Tue, 20 Mar 2012 12:30:00 +0000

Chevrolet’s Spark minicar will go on sale in July starting at  a price point below the Sonic’s $14,600 (destination included). The Korean-built minicar competes in the “A-segment”, alongside the Fiat 500, Smart Fortwo and Scion iQ.

While the Spark is about 5 inches longer than a Fiat 500, it is over a foot shorter than the Sonic hatchback. Distinctive styling and an uprated 1.2L 4-cylinder engine will be hallmarks of the North American Spark, as will a 7-inch touch screen that can be integrated with the driver’s smartphone. Rather than offering expensive options like navigation, the screen will allow for phone-based navigation to be used.

The real question is how many Chevrolet can sell, and the company is non-committal with regards to sales prospects. One Chevrolet rep told Automotive News that the company hasn’t set a hard target, and one can easily read between the lines to get a real sense of how apprehensive Chevrolet is regarding the Spark. Oh ya – it comes in pink, too.


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Are You Ready For: A 1.2 Liter “Sub-Subcompact” Chevy? Fri, 05 Aug 2011 16:37:47 +0000

For most Americans, the term “small car” typically refers to a C-segment sedan like the Honda Civic or Ford Focus, cars that now qualify as midsizers in many key metrics. Subcompact, or B-segment cars are generally considered the smallest of the small, as their name implies… but ask an American to describe a car smaller than a subcompact, and they’ll likely look at you quizzically before hesitantly suggesting “Smart car?” Yes, the A-Segment, known in Europe as the “City Car” or Microcar” class, is such a rarity in the US that it’s basically synonymous with the one car “competing” in it (Fiat’s 500 hasn’t quite broken into the public consciousness yet).

But, with Chevy execs confirming once and for all that the on-again-off-again (for the US) Chevy Spark (a.k.a. Daewoo Matiz Creative) will in fact be sold in the US (likely as a 2013 model) early next year, the American A-segment is about to get a whole lot of attention. But the question is this: does the fact that America’s first new A-segment car in a decade is a Chevy help or hurt the segment’s chances (consider that previous US A-segment cars like the 500 and Smart are positioned as premium offerings)? Is this car, with its 80 HP/82 lb-ft, 1.2 liter engine a pioneering game-changer that will introduce America to a whole new world of tiny cars, or is it just CAFE compliance fodder? One thing is for certain: everyone from Hyundai to Ford (which have the i10 and Ka waiting in the wings) is going to be watching the Spark with great interest.

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Quote Of The Day: American Tastes Edition Mon, 23 Nov 2009 20:55:10 +0000 Gulp! (

I have driven a Spark around Michigan and have had some (GM executives) out for Saturday afternoon driving. We’ve cruised Woodward. North America has been an on-and-off thing for (the Spark). At the present time, though, it is very much on. Most of the world’s minicars were not designed for North America. The safety and repairability standards are different for side, rear, front crash and rollovers, as are emission standards and other things. They are difficult to meet if they weren’t planned for in the original engineering build. We can meet the U.S. standards. We can even package the Spark for Big Gulp cupholders

GM’s Jack Keaton [via Wards Auto] on the Chevrolet Spark (neé Daewoo Matiz Creative) and the many modifications needed to ready the 1.0/1.2-liter A-segment hatchback for the US market. Including making the cupholders large enough to hold a soft drink cup that’s nearly double the displacement of the Spark’s engine. The 6′ 4″ Keaton swears the Spark’s front seat is comfortable for him, and that he “didn’t mind” the back seat on a recent 35 mile drive.

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