There is more to it than fuel prices though. I am an American living in the Netherlands and here gas prices have come down but they are still considerably higher than in the US. On top of this most Americans would be astounded by the taxes you have to pay here to own a car, literally thousands of Euros a year in the Netherlands, and in some countries a smaller, more fuel efficient car means lower taxes. Plus it is just more physically difficult to drive and park a large car here, the roads tend to be much narrower, big, American style, parking lots are very uncommon here. Some major cities like London now charge you to drive into the city center and the charge goes up with how much fuel you car consumes.And the dumb Americans, who have quickly forgotten the last gas price spikes, buy record numbers of trucks and SUVs.
Renault is struggling in the minicar segment with the rear-wheel-drive Twingo as sales of the car fell by 20 percent to 29,081 in the first four months, according to JATO's figures. The decline dropped the Twingo to fifth place behind the similarly aged Toyota Aygo. The dip came despite the popularity of minicars in Renault's home market of France, which ranks fourth in Europe behind Italy, the UK and Germany. French minicar sales rose 2 percent to 54,415 in the period.
Renault's expectations for the car haven’t been met, said IHS analyst Ian Fletcher. IHS reports that last year Renault cut a shift at its Twingo factory in Novo Mesto, Slovenia, where the car is built alongside its platform mate, the Smart ForFour. Fletcher believes some customer are put off by the Twingo's rear-engine design, which reduces trunk space. Another problem is that the Twingo is facing competition from its larger sibling, the Renault Clio. "Some deals Renault has at the moment don't put the Clio that far away from the Twingo [in price]," Fletcher said.