Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Will we ever share Europeans' taste for premium-priced small cars?

Ford began selling the Fiesta subcompact in Canada this summer and, while it's a very fuel-thrifty ride, Ford in North America isn't offering the most fuel-efficient Fiesta in the world. And that's a shame.

For “business reasons,” Ford in Canada and the United States can't offer the Fiesta ECOnetic even though in Europe it's been sold as a sporty subcompact with seating for five, loads of electronic features and fuel economy rated at – hold on to your hat here – 3.6 litres/100 kilometres, or 65 miles per U.S. gallon.

The Fiesta ECOnetic is a perfect illustration of the sort of vehicle for sale in Europe that so far cannot break into the North American marketplace.

[...] -- Read rest of the article at the Globe & Mail here.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A little history about North American small cars

There was a nice article in yesterday's Globe & Mail paper about the (mostly failed) attempt of U.S. automakers to enter the small car market in the early 1960's. [article link] A quote from an auto journalist at the time still rings true today; it's taken a recession and high gasoline prices to start to change buying habits, and only slightly.
"Personally I go along with the thinking that America is basically a big-car country with big-car needs. I feel that unless we have a depression of major size or 60 cents a gallon gasoline, the so-called big cars will still grab off 80 per cent of the market.”
-- Tom McCahill, Modern Mechanix (circa 1960)