The new Kia Cee’d may have a stupid name, but everything else about the car looks pretty attractive. Well, maybe not the grille. They also refrained from releasing any specs at all alongside these photos, so you’ll have to wait until March’s Auto Show to get the scoop. The Forte is a little dated by now, to the point where it’s hard to justify buying one over a Rio, let alone an Elantra – how about it, Kia?
Canadians already bought the Honda Civic in droves, so it would make sense that another unloved car, the Fiat 500, would do well in a country that favors smaller, more European vehicles, right? Sort of.
My two weeks in Europe has drawn to a close, and I’m back at my familiar desk, in front of my familiar computer, catching up on all the automotive happenings I missed, contemplating my transition out of TTAC’s day-to-day leadership, and reflecting on all I saw over my whirlwind two weeks. And though you haven’t heard from me much in the last two weeks, rest assured that I have not forgotten TTAC, nor have I missed any opportunities to accumulate impressions from the automotive landscape of modern Europe.
In contrast to rapid changes in the compact and midsized segments, the subcompact segment is moving along established trendlines. Kia’s Soul has completely overtaken this segment’s previous champ, but that’s been a long time coming. A new Accent is arriving at dealers, and that model’s starting to take off… in fact, if there’s news here, it’s that the Accent appears to be outselling the segment’s next-freshest offering, the Ford Fiesta. Otherwise, Aveo and Rio are dropping off ahead of their replacement by new models, the 500 is getting closer to MINI’s monthly volume, and Mazda2 can’t quite get past the Cube The YTD chart doesn’t show too many changes either… but watch this space as the A/B segment heats up with new models later this year.
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, actorsome 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). (Read More…)
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.
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…)