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Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, smart fortwo, MINI Cooper
Apr 03, 2007 (10:14 pm)
OK, all you naysayers, what do you have to say now?
The Yaris is on pace to blow away all previous annual sales records for Tercel and Echo, with sales so far this year that seem to put it on pace to get to at least 80K or so in its second year.
Meanwhile, Aveo continues its magic, on pace to get darn close to 100K this year, while combined sales of Rio and Accent are on target to accomplish the same goal:
The Fit continues to be a wait-list-only car, mainly because of constrained supply, but still is doing a solid 30K per year.
Now Ford execs are saying they can't possibly afford to be without a "B-game" in 2010 and have definite plans to sell a Ford-badged subcompact by then, and Roger Penske thinks he can sell as many as 20K Smart ForTwos in the States next year. And VW Group is considering bringing out an entry-level Audi based on the Polo for U.S. consumption.
Yup, things are definitely heating up in the "sub" segment...
#4245 of 9848 Re: ha! [nippononly]
Apr 04, 2007 (4:01 am)
Yup, things are definitely heating up in the "sub" segment...
Yes its called gas prices.
#4246 of 9848 Re: ha! [snakeweasel]
Apr 04, 2007 (4:14 am)
I don't know if it's just gas prices, since you can get a lot of cars that will average in the mid-30s mpg, but the problem with the "compacts" is that they have less interior space than the subcompacts (eg the Versa vs Sentra, Fit vs Civic) and people are looking for a car for about $15K that can hold a family of 4 and all their stuff. I think people are back to realizing (like the Europeans) that the small 4dr hatch is a great configuration...and gets about 50% better MPG than small SUVs.
#4247 of 9848 Re: ha! [bobw3]
Apr 04, 2007 (7:31 am)
I think a lot of the reason people are staying away from the Subcompacts is because of all those golliath pickups and SUV's out there. Anything smaller than a Civic starts really giving me the creeps, even though I prefer smaller cars. In an accident with a Suburban or dually, you're going to be in big trouble in a Yaris. Part of it is size disparity, part of it is the frame-on cunstruction used in trucks, and part of it is the jacked up nature of SUV's whose bumpers are often at shoulder height on small cars (well above the door beams). Add in the ubiquitous tint jobs and the inability to see around, through, or over SUV's when you're backing out of parking spaces or making a right on red.
Down here in Houston, it's likely even worse than in many areas of the country since there are more SUV's and trucks than in most places. Their drivers seem more aggressive and innatentive than in other places, too. Though they won't admit it, lot's of their drivers love to try to intimidate people out of their way by riding your rear or flipping on the blinker and edging over.
There are several small cars I'd love to own. But I just don't think I could live with them down here. Miata, Elise, Mini; all give me the heeby jeebee's.
Apr 04, 2007 (8:45 am)
that we are looking at a totally political and legal situation sub compacts may get a leg up. With the supreme court forcing the EPA into the mix cars as we know it will change. The US is slipping into the same boat as Europe and parts of Asia. I am not sure how this will play out in our market. I don't know if we are headed into a nation of Junior Autopia like cars as they have in Asia or ar nation without SUVs like Europe. It does seem as if the states that have adopted the California standards will have to find a solution that doesn't include diesels but it does seem if our bigger choices will be limited. However the message that Lexus is sending with their 300 plus HP hybrid is a bit confusing.
Nippon, having seen the hand writing on the wall I did go down and look at the Aveo. It still seems a bit small to me shoulder to shoulder with a salesman and my wife in the car but I am not driving as much as I did last year. The Yaris still looks like all it needs is a generic label that says "car" on the side but toyota does seem to be looking for an image that makes all their cars look the same only in different sizes. The fit is still a chick car in my eyes. Looks like a mini-mini-van so it has to come a estrogen air freshener. Just how I see it but then I never cared for the mini van in the first place. A mini-mini van might be even worse.
Apr 04, 2007 (9:24 am)
I think our concerns about the safety of small cars are mostly psychological. It's tricky, though, because statistics are only that, and accidents are very real.
My prediction is that when as cars get smaller and lighter, fatalities will go down, not up. But this will take a long time to prove true.
#4250 of 9848 Re: ha! [snakeweasel]
Apr 04, 2007 (10:32 am)
No kidding, Premium was $3.159 this morning.
Apr 04, 2007 (10:34 am)
$3.63 for premium in San Francisco...that's not usual, but still, that'll change the automotive landscape if it becomes the norm.
#4252 of 9848 Re: ha! [Mr_Shiftright]
Apr 04, 2007 (10:37 am)
Well, the hostages were released in Iran, so they should ease up. But it's scary to see these prices this early, before the driving season even begins.
Apr 04, 2007 (11:00 am)
hostages? Oh you mean the British soldiers....yeah, they're free.
It amazing how unregulated the oil industry is---that prices can be maniupulated so easily with mere rumors.
Now if I were a builder of small cars....hmmmm........
Well let's take a worst case scenario for a minute here....let's say you are driving the 2007 equivalent of a "gas hog", which would be....what?....a car or truck getting say.....oh....16 mpg, an using premium fuel.
Now we'll compare that to a typical subcompact that can put up say...35 mpg....
And we'll say that gas goes up to $3.50 for premium and $3.20 for regular across the nation (it's already here in California, so that's not a wild speculation by any means)
If both drivers go 15,000 miles a year, then the subcompact owner/buyer has to justify spending $15,000 to save $1,889 a year in fuel vs. keeping his old rig.
Now if the old rig is paid for, then it's gonna take the subcompact owner a while to "pay for" his vehicle. Of course, he also has warranty, so you'd have to figure the repairs on the old car into the equation, to be fair about it. Let's say that's another $1,000 a year.
So theoretically the subcompact owner is "saving" about $2,800 a year. That's still over 5 years to catch up to the cost of the old 16 mpg gas hog.
Naturally we are only talking about the economic factor, not political or philosophical or environmental justifications.