If you take a look at America’s automotive past, you’ll find that throughout most of the automobile’s history, bigger was better. That applies to the fin-bedecked behemoths of yesteryear, the muscle cars of the 60s and 70s, as well as many of the vehicles sold just a few years ago. The most recent (and memorable) part of that mantra was the glut of massive SUVs that lumbered the roadways and cluttered up car lots a few years back. Things are changing, though. Bigger is not always better, and more and more consumers are realizing that small might just be the way to go. Why, though?
Perhaps the most obvious reason that smaller cars are gaining traction with the buying public is due to their lower price point. The ongoing economic malaise that’s plagued the world for the last few years has left many consumers with a rather limited financial outlook. While they might personally prefer a spacious SUV or a van, they can’t afford the price tag. With the ongoing price increases in the automotive world, more and more consumers are downsizing just to save a few bucks on the purchase price.
Another hugely popular reason for downsizing to a small car is to save money on gasoline. The cost of gas continues to rise, and is expected to break records very soon. Obviously, larger vehicles use more gas to go the same distance than smaller cars. In an effort to cut down on the price at the pump, car buyers are opting for something a bit smaller than what they might have considered had fuel prices not skyrocketed. Both conventional small cars and hybrid vehicles have become very popular.
Green is the new black, at least when it comes to small cars and their impact on the environment. With the growing realization of just how much harm emissions and pollution cause to the environment and the frightening specter of global warming, many consumers have turned an eco-conscious eye towards the auto market. While many small cars aren’t hybrids, they do offer lower emissions than their gas-guzzling SUV brethren and large car cousins do. The less fuel a car burns, the less demand there is for new oil drilling. The less fuel burned by a car, the lower the emissions put out through the exhaust. Both of those are very important considerations for today’s consumers, and automakers are paying attention.
New Options on the Market
While fuel consumption and outright price are two of the prime movers in the small car trend, they’re not the only forces at work. A slew of new brands and models on the market has given consumers a broad range of new options. Who doesn’t love the look of the various Mini models out there? Fiat and Smart are also making headway in the ultra-small car segment. The trend hasn’t been lost on US carmakers, either.
Ford, Chevy, GM and Dodge have all stared putting out sporty, fun small cars that appeal to the buyer’s sense of enjoyment as well as their budget restrictions. Models like the new Ford Fiesta and Focus are both fun and sporty, and Dodge has resurrected the Dart once more with a small footprint and a sportier look for today’s market. Import brands are also cashing in on the trend, though Honda, Toyota and Kia have long been mainstays in the small car market.
Small cars are trending for many reasons, all of them valid, and all of them found across every layer of society. The day of bigger is better might finally be over.
Don Elfrink is the owner and operator of AutoMatStore.com, a company selling auto mats throughout the nation. Before AutoMatStore, Elfrink was the operator of an automotive production site. AutoMatStore focuses on logo, carpeted, molded and all weather floor mats.