Small Cars Too Small for U.S.?

Hyundai i10In the past six months, American car buyers have fled from buying SUVs and oversized pickups in favor of small, fuel-efficient cars and hybrids (if they can find one on the lot, that is). But car makers still feel that some small cars are too small for our roads.

Hyundai, for instance, is making a global push to establish itself in the small-car market. But not so much in the U.S. Its tiny five-door hatchback i10 model, for example, won’t be sold on American shores.  They’re looking instead to bring the larger i20 and i30 cars rather than the i10, which was designed with the European market in mind.

Though nothing is set in stone, not bringing the i10 to the small-car-starved dealerships here in the U.S. is a curious move for a company whose sales have been constrained by the limited availability of its current small cars, like the Elantra. Not even the i20, which is slightly larger and makes its debut in Paris next week, is officially set for import to the U.S.

Now that Wall Street and shifty mortgage schemes have the U.S. economy tanking and financing is hard to come by, the American car consumer’s wish for small, inexpensive, gas-sipping cars could become a demand. Everybody stand up and wave what few dollars you have in the direction of the i10 and the Ford Fiesta Econetic.

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