Skip to comments.When Small Cars Don't Sell
Posted on 11/18/2009 12:24:56 AM PST by bruinbirdman
It's an economic contradiction to order the industry to build small cars but not encourage people to buy them.
The government is trying to push us into smaller, fuel-stingy vehicles. The plan is not working. Motorists don't seem excited by the small cars out there. They'll sit on their hands rather than buy. The end result is not so much fuel efficiency as depressed sales of new cars.
The top seller in the American market is still the big Ford f-150 pickup. Then comes the family-size car, the Toyota ( TM - news - people ) Camry, then the big Chevy Silverado pickup, then the family sedan Honda ( HMC - news - people ) Accord.
Honda's Insight, the smallest hybrid, has sold only 16,000 cars through September, maybe half what was expected. Sales of Toyota's Yaris, no hybrid but Toyota's smallest car here, are down 40% from last year. Chevy's Aveo, its small Korean-made car, is down 30%, and Hyundai's smallest, the Accent, is off 40%. The VW New Beetle is down 50%, and the Scion 1c is down 60%. Sales of all cars and trucks this year (through September) are down 27%.
To be sure, sales of big vehicles (pickups, SUVs, vans and large luxury cars) are also down sharply, and the smallest cars never sold that well here, anyway. But it is still worth noting what is selling well despite the general downturn: smaller crossover SUVs like the Honda CR-V and Pilot; the Toyota RAV 4 and Venza; the Ford Escape; the Chevy Equinox; and the Dodge Journey. Sales of this group are down only 10% for the year. The category even includes models from Saturn and Pontiac that have been discontinued.
This doesn't mean Americans don't want fuel economy; it may mean that vehicles that were
(Excerpt) Read more at forbes.com ...
“The top seller in the American market is still the big Ford f-150 pickup”
You bet your ass it is. (proud F-150 owner)
Yaris is made exclusively in Japan.
Cheapest Toyota + “less than favorable” currency exchange rates...
However, Camry sales are so strong that Toyota took a Subaru plant in Lafayette, Indiana and converted the production line to produce more Toyota Camrys. Japan, Georgetown, KY, and now Indiana.
This is true, and it also proofs the Camry against getting screwed by US currency manipulation.
Oh, the Yaris is also made in Taiwan (to meet demand).
Strangely, it is still better built than the crap GM shovels out.
Got a 1986 F-250 6.9 diesel with Banks Turbo to pull toys.
Anyway, any Toyota Yaris destined for the US is built and assembled in Japan. How do I know? The VINs start with "J"
I rented a Ford F-150, 4-wheel drive, crew cab about 6 weeks ago. Boy I loved that truck. It was fun to drive.
Dark Red with camel cloth interior.
And boy did it suck the gasoline, LOL. Ouch at the gas pumps.
I miss 1999 gas prices. And my Ford Explorer.
Still beating on my 98’ has over 140,000 miles ,XLT club cab, 4.6 trition V8....not bad on gas at all....but then again...my other car is a 73’ pontiac lemans with a 350ci in it...
My pontiac weighs just more than my f-150...
Both are tanks...urban assault vehicles...
The Peel is the only car you can drive through your office. Jeremy Clarkson did that on Top Gear..
However, Nissan's current Sentra is abysmal.
But it’s racist to buy big cars....what about the planet?
Yeah, but if demand picks up, they’d ship in some from Taiwan.
It’s no worse than some others in the class... but then again, the Sentra has never exactly been brilliant, either.
The research that I have done says that the Toyota Belta (Yaris abroad) is made in Japan and Thailand. Taiwan is mostly known for it's semiconductor fabs and foundries.
The Nissan Versa’s a better car in that class.
As for the trucks... you’d buy a Government Motors vehicle?? (The Silverado?) Traitor.
Big old cars are better for the environment and Mother Gaia than building a new one. :D
I mostly hated mine. I had no problem with performance but the seats were the most uncomfortable seats I have ever sat in.
Colin Chapman built nice cars too.
Versa. Built in Mexico.
I miss driving around to find Sunoco 260 for 29¢ versus 32¢ per gallon when it was worth it to do so! (and getting steak knives or dishes with a fill up -- $5)
We had seven children. We spend time with many large families. We have had many discussions about social engineering, and yes, how car design is meant to discourage young couples from planning large families.
We would need two or three of those tiny cars for our children and grandchildren.
I’m not a Ford man (not since the late 80s), but on our next furlough in the States, I may have to look at a F-150, put a shell over the bed, insulate it somehow, and install regular bench seats in the bed.
Most minivans (are they still selling them?), have engine sizes much too small for me. I liked my GMC Safaris; owned three and had good service out of that 6-cyl. They stopped producing it I understand.
My other option is to buy some kind of light commercial service vehicle and customize it.
“...big Ford F-150 pickup.”?
When was ANY 1/2 ton pickup considered “big”?
Big is 1 ton and up (like my Dodge 4500 ... all 11,000 lbs of it).
“Im not a Ford man (not since the late 80s), but on our next furlough in the States, I may have to look at a F-150, put a shell over the bed, insulate it somehow, and install regular bench seats in the bed.”
They already sell that. It’s called a Ford Expedition.
Yup, but by Japanese robots and not a lot of Mexicans.
Other thing is, Toyota’s quality has been slipping quite a lot of late.
I suppose it is wrong and makes me a bad person, but I drive an Expedition, and I LOVE it.
Uh oh. That looks like an 80’s Series III Jaguar. Bet you’ve had fun with that. I have a 1982 that I replaced the engine in after the previous engine lost oil due to a bad oil pan gasket. It dropped a valve so has been sitting for awhile.
That car, however, drew more attention than any car I’ve ever owned, including my Corvette.
It’s an 87 Series III with more than a few upgrades. Okay, a LOT of upgrades. Most of the classic problems with the design have been eliminated. :D
Might want to get another head on that 82 - there’s a lot of upgrades available now that really make the old car come to life.
Great episode. Surprised it hasn’t made an appearance in a dilbert strip. Always love TG and the guys.
Wow. Don’t think I ever bought Sunoco high-test. I did, however, pay $0.42.9 for gas in the 1970’s.
Immediately after the 9/11 attacks (that morning), I knew there would be long lines at the gas pumps. Since I went in late that day, I filled up my Explorer at about $1.29/gal as I recall.
A week later, I filled up the saddle tanks in my Jaguar for $0.89.9.
Yeah, I figure the piston top might have sustained some damage, but I’m not too concerned if the walls aren’t horrible. Shame of it is, I had the 82 engine (original) that I kept for years. Since I moved, I finally junked it. The head would probably fit the 83 engine I put in. Sigh. I didn’t know it was a dropped valve until sending it to the shop.
But everything is on the back-burner for a while now.
CAFE constraints have taken their toll on vehicle overhang and ergo wieght at the cost of cargo space for packing it up for a vacation.
So then you put a luggage container on the roof and ruin the "aero".
The bottom line was the Mini-Van/SUV had room for real sized people and stuff you need to go places and exercise your liberty.
Obama doesn't want you to do that, you have to take the train to the Union Retreat Facility if he had his way....
BTW if they had their way the Watermelons would have us all driving mid 80's ish Golf/Jetta Diesels. Not enough room for a real family, they don't get that and never will....
The bottom line is this:
Small cars are not desired by Americans.
IF this was still a free market, the company that would focus on driving up fuel efficiency of SUVs, Crossovers and Trucks will be a long-run winner of profit.
You can get 28-30mpg out of it. You may want to get another head (about $800 for a remanufactured one ready to install) and put it away for later; good ones are getting hard to find.
Yeah that engine junked for about $50 in scrap but I just didn’t have a good place to keep it. Plus it was a bear to move. Wouldn’t you know it, needed it as soon as I got rid of it. I’ll find one but I do need to get crackin’ before all the Series III are wiped out. They DO smash a lot of them in movies in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
I suspect it’s from the frustration of being former owners, LOL.
The gauges are pretty cool. Of course it’s fun trying to decide if the Smiths gauges are going to work that day. Can’t imagine going up in a Spitfire with those as instruments.
I also need a back seat (lower) due to a leaky sunroof.
But first, money ........ sigh
They replaced the Smiths gauges with Veglia-built ones after 82, part of the 82.5 quality housecleaning/redesign (and because Smiths bailed out of the instrument market). I have a couple of engines hanging around in storage here including one that’s perfectly good but that I want to rebuild.
I might be able to do you a favor on that back seat. Where are you located and what trim level is your car?
In case you’re wondering - in order that is programmable digital gauges (so you can use other sensors now that ours are starting to go out of mass production), twin electric fans to eliminate the blade ejection problem and get much better cooling not to mention engine performance, a TH700R4 automatic transmission with overdrive to massively improve performance/reliability/fuel economy, and part of the MegaSquirt engine management system which eliminates the last of the proprietary sensors and the always restrictive air flow meter while adding distributorless ignition and active idle control.
Sent ya some FReepmail
Hi Test! Yup. Sunoco was ‘custom blended’, maybe 10 (?) ranges (it was a selling point). Good octane though for the 64 Vet.
After the de-leading of gas, it was beneficial to have a friend at a small airport. Every ‘now and then’, a fillup for the ‘70 XKE. (lol, there’s always a way!)
It sure beat running around filling up gas cans during the gas embargo though (while riding a full years off road m/c schedule).
Got through that, will get through this. tnx
How do you like it compared to a suburban?
We are on our fifth suburban in 18 years and will never buy a new GM
vehicle and need a big vehicle for the kids and equipment .
Obama doesn't want you to do that, you have to take the train to the Union Retreat Facility if he had his way....
That's why I'm keeping my Merc Mountaineer with the good ol' 5.0 V-8 until the government goons come and drag it away in the dead of night. I can keep it running for a long, long time (there's even a spare long block in the corner of the garage).
As the gearhead former front-man of Dire Straits recently wrote in his solo tune Border Reiver:
"Three Hundred Thousand on the clock
and plenty more to go,
Crashbox and lever,
She needs the heel-and-toe..."
‘ow about a NEW Ferrari for only 3K,eh?
I just got my first “big” vehicle a couple months ago, and do I ever love it! 2007 Trailblazer LS. And yes, most of the time I’m the only one in it. But...and this is what the envirowhackos don’t get... I’ve got 3 kids, 2 gkids,and various assorted of their spouses and sig others.
Any time we want to go somewhere—vacation/out to eat/ whatever—we had to take at least 3, if not 4, vehicles. Now—we’re down to 2.
Does it use a lot of gas? Yeah. So what? I drive >20 miles a day to work and back. It gets comparable mileage to all the old clunkers I’ve ever owned.
Hubby has a Geo Prizm that he drives to work. I detest that car. It’s like riding in a go cart on the highway. He also has a Silverado for serious stuff—pulling the boat, etc.
Most of the people driving those mini-cars? I feel like telling them—Nice coffin.
Thanks for all the great pics of hot cars, y’all! Drooling all over my moniter here! :)