Blog: Small cars in the US
Dave Leggett | 29 February 2008
I was interested to see Mark Fields' comments about small cars in the US. I wonder how the Mexican-made Fiesta will perform in the US market from 2010. Big segment shifts in the market tend to take a while to work through, assuming that the conditions creating the changed consumer behaviour - in particular, in this case, high oil prices - don't go into reverse. It's an intriguing thought though - B-segment cars selling in big numbers in the US, as the whole market rebalances towards relatively fuel efficient vehicles (big pickups don't actually disappear but diesels perhaps figure more strongly).
How quickly will the market be ready for superminis - albeit booted, in Fiesta's case - though? How many B-seg customers are there likely to be in the US? It might look like a segment with good potential, but if it's a relatively discrete and small niche that is well served by the likes of the Honda Jazz and the Smart, it could turn out to be a tough one for segment newcomers with high volume ambitions.
Or will there be a big shift with former Segment C (Focus class) buyers downsizing to smaller cars that are cheaper to run? Actually that 'downsizing' may not be as dramatic as it sounds given the tendency for cars to get bigger and offer improved interior packaging with each new generation. Check the dimensions on the new Fiesta.
But the next Fiesta could be a car to get excited about if the Verve concept is anything to go by.
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