2011 Ford FiestaEnlarge Photo
The United States has long been a bastion of the large car. Even in Europe, where many of the world's large sedans and SUVs hail from, economic and government pressures have pushed buyers to seek increasingly smaller vehicles and now that trend is growing here.
Smaller, more fuel efficient and less flashy car sales are on the rise, a trend that has been growing since the last auto industry boom back in 2007 and subsequent fuel price hike and economic downturn seen in 2008.
Cars are outselling lights trucks, the reverse of just two years ago, and when you include smaller crossover models together with cars the shift away from body-on-frame pickups, SUVs and full-sized vans becomes even more apparent. Cars and car-based vehicles accounted for 77.2 percent of the market for the first six months of the year, compared with 68.9% for the same period back in 2007.
The good news for automakers is that customers, while buying cheaper vehicles, are starting to opt for more features and equipment, all of which boosts per-vehicle revenue. Essentially, customers want all the options, content and features they used to have, just in a smaller package.
[Automotive News, sub req’d]