Automakers betting on smaller cars
Auto Industry News
|September 21, 2010 5:02 PM
With the compact car segment growing and more models on the way, car buyers may notice a shift toward compact and microcars over the next few years.
As drivers worry both about the initial price of the vehicle and the fuel economy, both new and used car buyers are turning to subcompacts as an alternative to bulkier sedans, according to the Detroit News. Automakers have been happy to oblige, with a wave of small cars hitting the scene in recent years and even more to follow.
According to the news source, the "C-Segment" or compact sedan (including the Ford Fusion or Hyundai Elantra) were the dominant small cars for many years, as Americans tended to favor larger vehicles. Meanwhile, small cars that were easy to drive in the city enjoyed success in Europe and other regions around the world. Yet the "B-Segment," which now consists of hatchbacks like the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit and Mini Cooper, was introduced to America with some success. Now, more "B" cars are on the way with "A" cars - like the Smart Fourtwo, Fiat 500 and Scion iQ - close behind.
Automakers are not yet sure how Americans will react to the shrinking interior space, but Rebecca Lindland of IHS Automotive predicted strong growth in these segments, with at least 850,000 cars per year in the B-Segment by 2015, up from the current level of 300,000.
For drivers in the market for a vehicle now, there are more than a few options in the small car category that they may find appealing, and quite a few on the way. These cars are already marked down when compared to their bigger counterparts and save drivers more at the pump, but patient consumers who wait for them to hit the used car market may be able to save even further.
The recently debuted redesign of the Ford Fiesta has been a big hit for the company, with the automaker currently struggling to keep up with demand. Reviewer's have praised the wealth of customization options in addition to its 32 miles per gallon EPA combined rating.
The Honda Fit is another example of a compact car that has enjoyed robust sales, jumping out to a clear lead in the segment sales-wise before the Fiesta came along. The car is a solid alternative and affordable option with basic features like air conditioning, power locks and a radio all available for under $15,000.
Whether it's one of the current subcompacts or one of the upcoming microcars like the Scion iQ, Fiat 500 or Chevy Spark, drivers can't go wrong with these small cars' mix of power and efficiency at a low price.
Related New Stories:
Subscribe in a reader