• jason Posted: 12/17/2008 5:20pm PST

    Now I am in no way going to try and prop up the big three's compact efforts, but I beg to differ on a few points.
    While cars like the Cavalier, Escort, Omni and Neon were in no way innovations - they were incredibly popular in the 80's-90's. High School parking lots were jammed with these cars in GT, RS, Shelby and Turbo forms for as far back as I can remember. Yeah a Civic Si from 1992 was a much better car than a Cavalier, but it was also much more expensive. And when GM launched Saturn, let's not forget the onslought that followed.
    Give them their due. Not saying they made the best, but in some cases, they fit the bill in a way that fed into the demand of the populous.

  • Lincolnman Posted: 12/16/2008 11:24pm PST

    You can go back to the pre-WWII American Austin, but the real first "small car' was the Crosely - and the one that cemented in most Amercians mind that small meant cheap and crude...... more recent Big 3 attempts have only reinforced that view....Falcon, Chevy II, Omni/Horizon, US Escort (they shoulda' imported the European model) Cavalier, Saturn, etc., etc.

  • reece Posted: 12/16/2008 11:19pm PST

    Read the article actually, thought i was quite poignant. I don't think Americans are naturally anti-small cars but have been averrse to them for three main reasons:
    1)Generally US small cars have been crap, really god awful pieces of drek, need we say any more than Pinto. Bad cars, bad memories bad press. even now they insist on importing the worst Daewoo's and other crap. Vs Euro experience of great little driving cars like GolF GTI, Peugeot 205 GTI, Rennault 5 Turbo, even the Astra (GM in europe) and Focus have been relatively good cars (those that came before it less so, except original escort, what a cracker of a car). BAd experience has lead to people dismay to these. This is changing thanks to effots of the Japanese makers who have shown you can have good small cars.
    2) Price. Cars in the US are relatively cheap, at least compared to Europe (and OZ). The price differential between small cars and normal size sedans is not so big, so why not spend a few extra bucks for the bigger, supposedly safer car. In euriope price difference is large so you have to spend a lot more so generally not worth it unless you really have the money.
    3) price of fuel. Fuel is expensive in europe but generally incredibly cheap in the US. Small cars use less fuel so you save a lot more money in Europe owning a small car than a big one, again given the price of fuel, the savings not so great in the US.
    Reason number 1 need not exist. Focus and Astra show GM and Ford can make decent small cars. Just have to trust themselves. Teh Japanese and more recently Europeans have shown americans small need not be crap. That perception is changing and they need to be on board. and Number 3 well price has dropped but $4 a gallon was the magical price that made people change their behaviour. Their is limited supply of the stuff so after recssion is over in 2 years prices will go back up. and there is a new reason. The Environment, whether you belive the hype or not, more people now consider the Environment when making purchasing decisions. Small capcity direct fuel injection engines give greater credence to building smaller lighter vehicles.
    GM and Ford need to start taking a chance on small cars in the US and follow the Japanese and Euro model not their own (or Sth Korea's).