QOTD: Thinking Small Again?
If the global economy were weather, yesterday brought dark clouds, an unsettling calm, and that weird ozone smell that heralds a violent storm. The bond market is waving its hands and flashing a warning sign. Spooked traders waded through a sea of red as Wall Street and other foreign exchanges began resembling the elevator scene in The Shining.
It’s quite possible all those warnings issued by major automakers of a looming recession weren’t made out of an abundance of caution, but something a little more concrete. No wonder the likes of Ford and General Motors find themselves in the midst of “downturn planning.”
As you read yesterday, one possible consequence of another economic meltdown is a return of smaller, more affordable vehicles — products both Ford, GM, and Fiat Chrysler spent the last few years dropping from their lineups. While the entirety of these small vehicles wouldn’t return in such a scenario, some might. Which cars deserve a green light?
In this exercise, we’re looking at recently cancelled domestic models that remain in service elsewhere in the world, as FCA isn’t likely to triumphantly return the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 on the off-chance that Americans might like them this time around.
However, the Ford Focus and Fiesta remain in production on the other side of the Atlantic, and in dressy new duds, too. While the Chevrolet Sonic somehow still remains in production in Michigan, GM sent the larger Cruze packing from plants in Ohio and Mexico, leaving the model alone in China and Latin America. It’s unlikely a recession would compel GM to restart a mothballed American plant it hoped to offload during good economic times.
So, should things take a dive, import opportunities exist to bring some of these lost models back to our shores, assuming the preferred solution isn’t a quick reversal of recent Mexican plant allocations.
Many Americans will hold on to their present vehicle if the economic shit hits the fan; others might find themselves at the end of a lease and without the ability to (or desire) to get into something quite so opulent. Younger buyers with dodgy credit might not have the ability to cover the payments on a $25,000 compact CUV and will go on the hunt for a cheaper alternative. Nissan, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Toyota will be there, arms spread, waiting to embrace their new customers.
Over to you, B&B. Should the world plunge into turmoil once again, which recently discontinued American small cars would you want to see return to a dealer near you?
[Image: Fiord of Europe]
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