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Small may not mean cheap.

Some remarkable mileage figures are coming out with some amazing cars.
Two big problems we are going to have to overcome in buying and selling these super-efficient cars are size and cost. Hybrids cost more, electrics cost more, diesels cost more, and better spark-ignition engines cost more. Super-lightweight construction, with tempered metals, more composites, cost more.  Moreover, given equal materials and design, the smaller car will always be lighter, and require less fuel to move around.

What sold cars in the past were things you could see, cool styling, cupholders, re-configurable seating, lots of lights on the dashboard. Things you can feel, acceleration, smooth ride, comfortable seats and legroom. People want high quality cars, but they’ll settle for the appearance of one, and, face it, most of us are not engineers.

So when we get into a tiny car, and feel claustrophobic, the pretty lights on the dashboard are too close, the legroom is lacking, and there isn’t much room for extra cupholders. The small car is going to have few optional seating arrangements because there will be as few seats as possible.

Now take the tiny car, and sell it for $30,000.
In the American psyche, small cars meant cheap cars, don’t ask me why. Porsche sold small cars in this country since the ‘50’s and they weren’t cheap, Mercedes and BMWs have sold small cars for a long time, too, also not cheap.

When some of the Amazing! Remarkable! High efficiency cars get here, most of them will be smaller cars. Most of the high technology to make them super-efficient will cost money, too. I love the technology, I just don’t know about the marketing.

Would they sell better with lots of chrome and tailfins?


  • Jeff Little 5 years ago

    Here's the Problem.. GM is doomed they have not change a thing about the way they do business. They are still producing cars that cost a 1/3 of house to buy and the car are freaking ugly. No one has the money to waste on the Hybrids.

    American also have to get out of the idea of owning bigger cars. Why should you drive a SUV to work everyday when there is only one person in those stupid heaps. The should be such a tax place on those truck like things so that no one can afford to drive them anymore.

  • David Larson, Dayton Alt Trans examiner 4 years ago

    GM produced small cars that were roundly reviled and damned by the US public, by the media, and by politicians. All of the domestic automakers have fought uphill against the petroleum industry, which has tried to run world politics [look up Japan, FDR, petroleum, and WW2; or Clinton, Unocal oil company, and Afghanistan; or BP oil, the Shah of Iran and Al Queda]

    It has gotten so bad that the public blames the carmakers when the fault is with petro-politics, and the cultural cancers of 'Celebrity' and rude behavior that influence many to drive the biggest, flashiest thing they can, to force others out of their way and express their own self-professed importance.

    Sadly, much as politicians believe otherwise, it is nearly impossible to legislate social change, and completely impossible when the nation is hostage to oil.

  • mog 5 years ago

    I don't see why GM is the problem. Chevy Aveo sells for the same price as a Smart Car, Chevy Cobalt for the same as a Civic, Buick competes pricewise with Lexus. Ugly is in the eye of the beholder. I personally can't stand the Honda Ridgeline. Of course, since its style was copied from the Chevy Avalanche....

    Americans drive SUVs for the same reason they used to drive sports cars, luxury cars, the same reason people have so many clothing styles, shoe styles, jewelry, the same reason many people work out, the reason people buy magazines and watch TV shows about celebrities. People [not just Americans] go in for appearances, fashion, style.

    Are SUVs wasteful? Yes. So is the fashion industry, about 95% of programs on television, and the entire movie, and music, and sports industries. There is no redeeming value to any of it.

    Now, should we all wear only green slacks and tunics and ride bicycles and have no entertainment?

    You first.