Ten Small Imports Americans Won't Buy

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Automotive News [sub] ain’t committing themselves on this one, using typography to highlight that this is a list of ten small cars that could be coming our way. But they’re right to flag these cars as potential U.S. imports. When the U.S./world economy recovers, the price of gas is sure to ascend. Yes, when. Remember: automakers need to plan on a five-year timeline. To NOT plan for a recovery would be a mistake. And, as Detroit should have learned at least once in the last twenty years, any full-line carmaker worth more than $3b should not place all its eggs in a single vehicular basket. It’s an interesting list, but wouldn’t you really rather have a full-size Honda Accord or Toyota Corolla or, well, anything? And of course, I don’t mean you in the Chervolet Camaro sense. I mean you, as in 100k+ units per year. Or, put another way, how many competitors does the MINI need?

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

More by Robert Farago

Join the conversation
2 of 31 comments
  • FromBrazil FromBrazil on Dec 30, 2008

    bomber 991: Practical in the sense I think most Americans feel is practical: That it can carry a I-don't-know-how-long piece of plywood plus take 7+ kids and their gear to Little League on Saturday. But, to commute or even go on vacation or cross-country driving with 2 maybe, just maybe 3 people in it, then yeah. Very practical. Remember, even in Europe most of these cars serve "family duties", as the family's second car to those a little more fortunate, or even as its first or only car when the family is small and not so fortunate.

  • 4Banger 4Banger on Feb 13, 2009

    Most of these are not competitors to the Mini, which has a hefty price tag in comparison. These are subcompact, high mpg cars intended for the summer gas prices that are sure to come. They said the beetle would never sell, they laughed at the civic, and then gas prices went up while American quality was struggling. This is a tough time to launch a new vehicle of any type. But, there is a market for small cars. The smart has sold well, and as long as they can keep the price down and sell the value of these tiny cars you will see them move. Lets see now, we had high gas prices last year and American car companies are struggling, what should we be making - you can fill in the blank! Or have a look at car sales history from the 70s.

  • Picard234 So this release amounts to 2.7 hours of gasoline consumption in the US. You won't even see a penny. The administration is draining the reserves for political optics, nothing more.
  • ToolGuy If that nice young man really wants to help this hardworking American, he can have his people deliver the gasoline directly to my fuel tank. Thanks in advance.[42 million gallons divided by 233 million licensed drivers in the U.S. makes 'my' share almost two 12-ounce soda cans. This is huge, thanks for the effort lol.]
  • The Oracle Farley proves once again he is WAY in over his head.
  • Theflyersfan Gas prices went up $1.00/gal today at the three stations I just passed to get home. Was there a war? No? Could it be oil company greed? Perhaps.
  • Slavuta Actually, this is probably not as bad as student loan ordeal