Smaller cars make a comeback … kind of.
Great news! According to at least one analyst, sales of subcompact cars in the U.S. are supposed to double in the next five years!
If this gives you visions of nation-wide FUH2 dancing in your head, you may also be one of those folks who believed your friends when they said the word “gullible” wasn’t in the dictionary. (Hint: it is.) A doubling of the U.S. subcompact car market would bring small cars’ share of the new-vehicle market to a whopping 3 percent. Actually less than 3 percent. Sigh. Why, why would this be? Says another analyst:
I don’t think [the subcompact is] a car for the U.S. market … Those cars look great in Europe, but put them on road here next to a big SUV and they don’t look so good anymore.
I’m assuming by “good” he means “pridefully wasteful to compensate for small-manhood syndrome.” That being the case, I suppose he has a point.
Considering the above, small-car manufacturers are hesitant to market their wares in the States. DaimlerChrysler, maker of the Smart car, is “currently evaluating the brand’s chances of success” here.
At the recent Geneva auto show — I was invited as a special guest but declined in favor of tea with the queen — Dodge unveiled the Hornet concept car, which definitely qualifies for small-car status at a mere 12.6 feet long, two feet shorter than a Neon. The press release describes the Hornet using the following phrases:
Rallye-ready and eager to go … an American flare for aggressive attitude … uniquely American character … robust, capable, and most definitely not “cutesy” … chunky, wheels-to-the-corner silhouette imparts the fun of assertive motoring to even the most mundane of errands … solidly planted on the road … muscular side view … sporty interior … designed for both style and utility … tough, brash, and eager to be off.
Eager to be off notwithstanding, Dodge is “noncommital” about marketing the car in the U.S.
On the bright side, the Loremo (pictured above), a spiffy German car that gets approximately 157 mpg, is planned to ship worldwide for a retail price of less than $13,000 in 2009. We’ll see how the booming U.S. small-car market is doing by then. Personally, I like the Loremo because it has no doors.
That said, you never know; there may be a U.S.-wide small-car revolution. Hey, if it can happen in China, it can happen here, right?
Did you know “optimism” isn’t in the dictionary?