Tag: small cars

By on August 20, 2010

Thanks to one of the most popular Top Gear segments ever, the Peel P50 is now well-established in the minds and imaginations of the world’s automotive cognoscenti. After all, how often does Clarkson say that “if [car X] had a reverse gear, I would describe it as the absolute ultimate in personal mobility”? But now there’s another reason to pay attention to Peel: having been bought a few years back by Gary Hillman and Faizal Khan, the British microcar maker is set for a comeback that’s being funded by Sonny Coreleone himself, actor some British investor named James Caan (born Nazim Khan… cheers to colin42 for the British pop culture lesson, and apologies for unwittingly making the story better than it is).
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By on July 8, 2010

Kia’s Soul didn’t have the most electrifying launch sales-wise, but with the release of its second buzz-worthy ad, the funky little box is becoming a major player in our A/B/Small Hatch segment. The Nissan Versa is clearly the dominant player here, selling nearly twice as well as the Soul. Meanwhile, there’s a tight pack of offerings that have moved at least 20k units this year, that ranges from the aged HHR to the MINI Cooper. Look for a big shake-up in this segment once Ford’s Fiesta production hits high gear.

By on June 6, 2010

After on-again and off-again attempts at an Eurasian marriage (which I would unreservedly endorse,) Mitsubishi and PSA are doing the thing currently en vogue in Europe: Live happily in sin, and produce little ones. Very little ones. (Read More…)

By on June 4, 2010

Woken up by the Tata Nano warning shot (which so far seems to be a dud), everybody agrees that the key to making India “the next China” is to start small. Why does Suzuki own more than half of India’s market? Small cars.  And motorcycles. Another key to emerging markets is to give people an easy upgrade path from two wheels to four wheels. Remember how BMW got started? Remember that the initial business plan for the Volkswagen was to offer citizens of the Third Reich a car for the price of a motor cycle?

No wonder manufacturers are scouring their line-up for cars small enough for the huge Indian market. (Read More…)

By on December 16, 2009

Real Bentley, fake … Picture courtesy dailymail.co.uk

It’s a strange world. Europeans are changing their already small cars for tiny ones. Manufacturers fall over themselves building ever smaller and cheaper cars. In the USA, small cars are suddenly big. Ford’s analyst George Pipas says that this year, small cars accounted for 21 percent of all U.S. vehicle sales. By 2013, Pipas predicts that compact cars, subcompact cars and crossover vehicles built off small car platforms will account for 36 percent of total new vehicle sales in the United States. Car executives that still have a job bemoan the times where big cars meant big profits.

A new frugality is rampant on the globe. Makers of luxo-barges, such as BMW and Mercedes are in big doo-doo.
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By on December 10, 2009

The movement to nowhere?CSM Worldwide seems to think so, telling Automotive News [sub] that new compacts from Ford and Chevrolet are being pushed into the market to comply with increasing fuel-efficiency and CO2 emission standards. If gas prices stay steady, CSM’s VP for Forecasting, Michael Robinet says “extreme pressure to channel smaller vehicles in the market due to CAFE and emissions standards will raise incentives and lower profitability.” “It is very possible that U.S. automakers will not achieve their objectives of selling small cars at a profit,” adds CSM CEO Craig Cather. The crux of the argument is that CAFE ramp-ups to 35.5 MPG by 2016 create incentives for automakers to produce small cars without corresponding consumer demand. Luckily there’s a planned gas tax hike for that.

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