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Americans Downsizing At Rapid Rate

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2011 Ford Fiesta

2011 Ford Fiesta

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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]

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Comments (11)
  1. Makes sense -- especially when you're often stuck in traffic/commute you want toys and gadgets to play with !
     
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  2. Living in the midwest with lots of snow, I think I will stick with my truck. Also, truck prices were unbelieveable last year and the year before when gas prices spiked.
     
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  3. If all I had was a pick-em-up truck I'd be constantly desiring a car. A real car. Something like a 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS in Rally Red, foglights, sunroof, 650-watt 9-speaker stereo with 10" subwoofer, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearknob, wraparound bodykit and spoiler, great Seattle Supersonic wheels and Pirelli P-Zero Nero M&S Pinna radial tires. Wait...that's what I already have! And that car runs on some of the world's finest-engineered engines and transmission packages available to consumers. Period.
     
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  4. But are they actually willing to pay more for those smaller vehicles? Yet to be answered!!
     
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  5. Roads are so bad around where i live that i bought an SUV just for the ground clearance. I also made it a big one because i just hate small cars - they just feel econo no matter how many cool gadgets are in there. At least IMO.
     
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  6. "Living in the midwest with lots of snow, I think I will stick with my truck."
    Living in the Midwest, with lots of snow, I've gotten by quite nicely with small cars and snow tires, which frankly are far more useful than four wheel drive most of the time.
    The need for a truck in the snow is a myth.
     
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  7. i think this trend is inexorable. right now, i think it's driven largely by the economic downturn. if/when things pick up, the trend will continue (if not increase) as i assume fuel prices will start to rise quickly (they are artificially depressed with the weak worldwide economy). how to make a profit in the new normal vis a vis small cars. definitely, definitely manage costs AND push the features!!
     
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  8. Not here in Australia we're not downsizing - SUV sales here are at an all-time high. I feel sorry for you Americans and your recession :D
     
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  9. "Living in the Midwest with lots of snow, I think I will stick with my truck." [sigh] Yet more reflexive and ignorant car-buying theology. I live in a place that gets several feet of snow a year, often in storms of 8 inches or more. My Subaru (with all-wheel-drive) runs RINGS around all the macho dudes (and their little wives) in their big jacked-up SUVs and trucks. It may not quite as fast off the line, but I simply motor around corners while they all slow down 'cause their cars feel so high and tippy. I smile all the way to the gas station, 'cause I get 25 mpg and they don't. U.S. consumers will come to understand that smaller cars do everything that bigger cars do, and often do it much BETTER. But it's a process, and it'll take time.
     
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  10. Good news for planet earth. There are only a number of cases in which a large, fuel-guzzling car is really needed.
     
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  11. My Midsized CUV will drive circles around pcik-ups trucks. All pick-ups offer is ground clearance. they also come with more aggressive tires. But unless it's 10" of snow, their uneven weight dstribution makes them a poor vehcile in the snow compared to even a FWD car with descent tires. They NEED AWD because without it, they have
     
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