There as been a lot of talk this month about small cars and how they are accepted (or not accepted) in the United States. We have looked recently at U.S. Policy to see if the letter of the law has a hand at keeping small cars from flourishing. We have talked about new car technology like the Mitsubishi MiEV, Mazda’s new SKY series of motors and the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, but there is another vehicle from Chevrolet that has caused more controversy than all of the above. Recently, Motor Trend published an article where they predict that the 2011 Chevrolet Spark will basically be a flop in the U.S. market.
Our partner’s over at GreenCarReports.com have been all over this like oil on a crankshaft and we can see why. Some might call GreenCarReports.com and us here at AllSmallCars.com biased because we have a vested interest in technology and cars that take up less resources. I can’t speak for our partner site, but I can tell you that AllSmallCars.com is indeed biased to the small cars, but we also call a clunker a clunker. This brings us full circle to a subject that has been kicking around our own site for the last couple of months—Can a small car win with the American consumer?
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Just so we double-check the facts; the MINI Cooper has been a phenomenal success state side and you can add the Smart ForTwo to that list as well. Now some of you might ask why I haven’t mentioned the Honda Fit and new Ford Fiesta. The reason really is that they are being marketed to a different consumer set (see GreenCarReports.com for more on that). Also, the Smart and the MINI are both similar in size to the soon to come Spark. That said, historically small cars haven’t been blockbusters for the U.S., though we should mention the success of the original Beetle, MGs and Datsuns (I mean who didn’t know someone with a 510).
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Back to the question above, from the AllSmallCars.com perspective small cars are making quite the come back and yes a lot of that was spurred by the high gas prices last year. Let’s be honest though, if a small car had all the features and amenities of a larger car, cost less and was easier on the pocket book, wouldn’t you consider having one as your daily commuter? What about for that teenager that is just learning to drive or those in the lower income brackets that need good transportation? Toyota Tercels, Honda Civics, Nissan Sentras, Geo Metros and Ford Festivas were all micro cars of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Then those same cars either disappeared or had a growth spurt. Maybe the success of small cars or lack there of in the U.S. really shows how much better off we have been as a country in terms of space and wealth. What we have to ask ourselves as we are in pursuit of the “American Dream” is what is the responsible thing to do?
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Bottom line—in the future I think we are going to see cars like the Chevrolet Spark, Nissan Leaf, MINI Cooper, Smart ForTwo and more continue to make their case in the American automotive market in the name of the environment, social responsibility and financial well being. So next time you are looking for a new car, give the small guys a go, they might be better than you think.