Thoughts for late November ...
- Do Americans Finally Love Small Cars? Sales Data Says Yes
By Antony Ingram
America has never been too fond of small cars. Big spaces and cheap gas has always encouraged larger vehicles, but a lack of genuinely talented small cars to choose from has also played a part.
That's all changed in recent years, with most manufacturers now offering minicars, subcompacts and compact cars that give consumers a real choice without sacrificing performance, comfort and safety--and it's beginning to show in sales figures.
An increase in small car sales has contributed to overall sales up 12.8 percent over September last year, according to The Detroit News.
Chevrolet and Chrysler both posted an increase in sales over last year, and while Ford's overall sales fell by 0.2 percent from September 2011, the carmaker's final tally of 24,728 small cars--including the Fiesta, Focus and C-Max--is the higest since 2002, and 73 percent up on last year's tally.
Chrysler's car sales rose 27 percent, while according to Automotive News, the group's two smallest offerings--the Fiat 500 and Dodge Dart--rose by 51 percent and 72 percent respectively.
GM's mini-car, small car and compact car sales rocketed by 97 percent over the same month a year ago, the Chevy Cruse leading the compact car sector with 25,787 sales in September.
As well as domestic makers showing increased small car sales, foreign automakers like Volkswagen, Honda, Toyota and Korean twins Hyundai and Kia all posted double-digit sales increases over September 2011.
Toyota sales increased by 41.5 percent. Japanese rival Nissan struggled, posting a 1.1 percent fall, its range reflecting similar struggles to that faced by the Leaf electric car.
Investors put increasing sales down to a market more stable than last year, with improving housing markets and stable unemployment increasing buyer confidence.
However, the sheer talent of small cars on sale today, with better performance, safety, comfort and technology, means the "econo-box" image may finally be diminishing.