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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Where U.S. shoppers draw the line on buying very small cars

This kind of reporting bugs me; it's interesting, but anecdotal:


Richard Truett
Automotive News
July 28, 2014 - 12:01 am ET
Daimler says it's giving the Smart car another go in the United States by rebuilding it from wheels to roof, complete with new powertrains.

It may not help.

When it comes to small cars, American buyers have a limit to how low they will go.

The Fiat 500 appears to be the smallest car Americans are willing to buy in decent volume.

Cars that are too small simply haven't clicked with American buyers -- despite persistently high gasoline prices. Take Scion's iQ, for example. The stubby little four-seater has sold just 1,227 copies in the United States this year through June, down nearly 50 percent from a year earlier. Smart's ForTwo has moved only 4,647 units in the United States through June, up 4 percent from a year earlier.

The Scion iQ's wheelbase is 78.7 inches and its length is 120.1 inches. It is EPA rated at 37 mpg highway and has a base price of $16,420, including shipping.

The Smart ForTwo has a 73.5-inch wheelbase and is just 106.1 inches long. It is EPA rated at 38 mpg highway and has a base price of $14,020, including shipping. The new ForTwo coming in just more than a year will be the same size.

Fiat, on the other hand, has sold a respectable 18,179 500s in the United States through June, and that does not include the larger four-door L model.

The Fiat 500 has a wheelbase of 90.6 inches and a length of 139.6 inches. The 500 with a five-speed manual is EPA rated at 40 mpg highway. Its base price is $17,295, including shipping.

The recipe for small car success in the United States looks like this: at least 40 mpg highway, a usable back seat, a wheelbase of at least 90 inches and a length no less than 135 inches. A price in the mid teens also helps.

You can reach Richard Truett at [email protected].
 

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". . . a usable back seat . . ."

Seriously? Has the author ever looked (or tried to fit) in what Fiat calls a back seat?

Unless you are in the single digit age range, or extremely flexible, I don't think it can be done?
 

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". . . a usable back seat . . ."

Seriously? Has the author ever looked (or tried to fit) in what Fiat calls a back seat?

Unless you are in the single digit age range, or extremely flexible, I don't think it can be done?
I'm 5 7" 160 pounds, I fit fine in the back seat of. My wife's 5 4" 120 pounds she fit fine. My daughter is 5 6" 110 pounds the same. Folks don't buy a 500, for it back seat. They like the cute Italian design, choice of amenities, 3 power trains to choice from. 2 transmission, it comes in a hard top, sunroof, fix sunroof, and a cabriolet. With the rear seats down, on a 500, can you fit a Honda lawn mower in back of it with the hatch down. I tried that on my smart, doesn't work. There's just as much leg room, in a 500, as a Mini. If your over weight, your not going to fit in any city cars back seat. You buy the rear seat delete, from Madness.

The big question is, why does Fiat city car, out sells both smart, and IQ all together.
 

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The big question is, why does Fiat city car, out sells both smart, and IQ all together.[/QUOTE]
:shrug:
I think the answer is a much larger advertising budget with interesting commercials.:x
 

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I agree. Marketing. Fiat launched it's campaign a year before I saw one on the street. I saw my first Smart commercial 3 years after I bought mine.
 

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The big question is, why does Fiat city car, out sells both smart, and IQ all together.
As the article says, size. The Fiat 500 (not the 500L!) is right on the bottom limit of what Americans will accept as small cars. It is bigger than a smart, which IMHO, cuts it out of being a small car - but that's just me. Most Americans see no problem comparing smart with the Honda Fit, even though they are totally dissimilar cars. There's no way to fix this apparently - which in a way is good because, judging from the folks that attend various smart events around the country, people that buy and enjoy the smart do so because they truly get what the car is all about. If others don't, then that means more smarts for the rest of us. :)
 
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