Tag: small car

By on September 12, 2017

2017 Volkswagen up - Image: VolkswagenThe global auto industry is not a place in which small car production is as straightforward as it was a decade or two ago.

Brought closer to home, Americans are buying roughly 30-percent fewer subcompact cars now than they were just three years ago. With next to no fuel economy advantages; limited payment upside; and less refinement, power, and space, why would a car buyer choose a subcompact over a compact sibling? Most buyers don’t. In the United States, compact car sales are five times stronger than subcompact sales. August’s top three compacts (Civic, Corolla, Cruze) outsold their subcompact brethren (Fit, Yaris, Sonic) by more than seven-to-one.

Many automakers don’t even bother selling their smallest cars in North America. Mazda’s latest 2 never saw U.S. import. FCA has left the compact market, having long since left the subcompact sector to rivals. Subaru doesn’t dive below the Impreza platform. And Volkswagen stops at the Golf, leaving the subcompact Polo for more small-car-friendly countries.

But how keen on small cars are those other countries? In some instances, not keen enough. Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess tells Autocar, “Selling small cars is not easy.” And he’s clearly not just talking about F-150-loving America. “It’s a very European problem,” says Diess. As a result, the Volkswagen Up city car, a Lupo successor, may pull out of Europe in favor of emerging markets only. (Read More…)

By on August 26, 2014

ka sedan

The Ford Ka was born as a provocateur with a challenging design and hints of refinement that solidified the idea that cars are not sold by the pound. Highly successful in Europe, this recipe proved less so in the rest of the world, particularly Latin America were the car was relentlessly cheapened out over its career and became irrevocably divorced from the European car in its second generation. Now, designed and developed by Ford Brazil (with some help from the European unit), the Ka, in its third generation, sets out from the tropics in its eventual quest to become an integral part of the One Ford strategy (sales in Europe, from a UK beachhead, should commence in the fall of 2015).

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By on April 22, 2014

honda-concept-b

 

This China-only concept, which previews a new small car that Honda will build just for that market, is the kind of product that Honda enthusiasts have been clamoring for.

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By on January 28, 2014

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV Exterior

Outside North America, this little blue pill of an A-segment car is known as the Daewoo Matiz Creative. It may look an obsolete computer peripheral (or a pregnant roller skate), but GM claims that the Chevrolet Spark has more torque than a Ferrari 458 Italia. As a self-described technology lover, and card-carrying resident of the Left Coast, I had to check it out.

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By on January 24, 2014

I have three choices for a “New or Used?” column today.

#1 Is a real estate agent from San Francisco who is looking at spending $13,000 on her next ride. She needs something ‘nice’ to shepherd around her clients.

#2 Is the owner of an Acura RSX Type-S that has 108,000 miles. He is looking at whether to spend about $1500 in new tires and suspensions components. Or whether to blow the budget and spend $40,000 on something new.

#3 Is Baba Booey

(Read More…)

By on June 6, 2013

 

2014_Corolla_S_001

By the time you’ve read this, I’ll have seen the new Corolla in the flesh. We’ll have more details shortly, but because you were dying to know, yes, the 4-speed automatic is back. But only on the very base model. Otherwise, there’s a CVT (which Toyota is calling a “7-Speed”) or a 6-speed manual. There will be an Eco model, targeting over 40 mpg, as well as an “S” model, seen here. The engine is a 1.8L with 132 horsepower and 128 lb-ft of torque, while Eco models get a revised valve timing system that puts out 140 hp and 126 lb-ft.

By on April 1, 2013

Buick’s been on a roll this year, their sales are up and their owner demographics are younger than they have been in recent memory. The cynic in my says that’s because half their clientele died of old age, but it has more to do with their product portfolio. Say what? Yep, it’s true, the brand I wrote off for dead last decade is targeting younger buyers with designs imported from Europe and finding sales success. The Verano turbo shattered my preconceptions, but can Buick do it again? A brown Encore arrived one rainy morning to see if it was possible. (Read More…)

By on November 20, 2012

With the TWATs under way and awards season about to gear up, I would like to take a moment to highlight the one car I’ve found that ticks all the boxes for me personally. It’s the Fiat 500 Abarth.

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By on October 9, 2012

More bad news from PSA – production of the brand-new Peugeot 208 subcompact will be cut by one third, as PSA grapples with an imploding market for small cars in Europe.

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By on September 11, 2012


Tercel. Echo. Yaris.

When the history of great cars is written, these models will likely not be anywhere near the short list.

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By on July 20, 2012

Glancing at its diminutive footprint and tiny engine specs, one would expect superlative fuel economy from the Chevrolet Spark, right? Wrong.

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By on July 11, 2012

Even though the Vauxhall Adam is named after its German twin’s founder, the British arm of General Motors felt it necessary to steal the ailing brand’s thunder, and release photos of their new city car – as if stealing production of the Astra wasn’t enough.

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By on June 28, 2012

I may occassionally mock the enthusiast infatuation with wagons and hatchbacks, it’s only because they’re not such a big deal to me. Two-box compact and midsize cars (not crossovers or SUVs) are everywhere in my locale, to the point where they go unnoticed. But this is one worth getting excited about.

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By on June 11, 2012

Unlike Mexico, that other Latin American economic juggernaut, Brazil (sorry Argentina), has not really had a lot of success exporting cars to North America. Now, that is all about to change.  Picture a Dodge cross and new back-lights and there you have it. Coming soon to a dealer near you. Yes, this Fiat will be outfitted as a Dodge and sold in all fine Chrysler-Dodge stores all over America and Canada.

(Read More…)

By on May 19, 2012

More than just a mere model, the Honda Civic is an institution. With 9 million examples sold on American shores, and nearly 20 million worldwide, calling it “Honda’s most important car” doesn’t express the importance of getting the 2012 redesign right. Michael got his hands on the EX model last May, but today we’re looking at the green poster child of the Honda line-up.  Visit TTAC next week as we get gaseous with the Civic CNG.

(Read More…)

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