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News and Information about small car

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GM product chief explains Chevy’s lack of powerful small cars

Affordable small performance entry cars are glaringly absent in Chevrolet showrooms. Meanwhile, the U.S. market has been getting plenty of this sort of cars, which include the Ford Fiesta ST, Hyundai Veloster, Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ. While potential Chevrolet customers get to choose from an array of highly luxurious, incredibly expensive models like the Corvette Stingray, the SS large sedan, and the upcoming redesigned Camaro muscle car, more pocket cars are coming to the market.

Soon, the Volkswagen Golf R, Ford Focus RS and Honda Civic Type R will be making their arrival. General Motors product chief Mark Reuss was asked about this seeming oversight last month in an interview and he replied, "I love those things. We know how to do them really well." At the 2012 Detroit auto show, it was rumoured that Chevrolet is working on one such small car when it unveiled the Code 130R concept coupe. People were quick to name this rear-wheel-drive car as a possible baby Camaro.

However, it never entered production. Currently, the Sonic RS is the sportiest small car in Chevy's lineup. It has an output of 138hp and is basically just a cosmetic package with a more finely tuned suspension – very similar to a base Sonic.

Read the entire article GM product chief explains Chevy’s lack of powerful small cars

GM offers to fix 2.2 million small cars over stuck keys in ignition

General Motors is offering to fix 2.2 million older small cars to prevent their keys from getting stuck in the ignition. These units are the same vehicles that GM recalled in February and March for a faulty ignition switch tried to 38 deaths. The vehicles cover MY2003-2011 Chevrolet Cobalt, Saturn Ion and other small cars, excluding those with manual transmissions.

GM has notified dealers of a "special coverage adjustment" that offers a free repair to customers experiencing some trouble removing the key from the ignition. The carmaker said in the notification that between three to four percent of the 2.2 million vehicles are affected by the stuck keys issue.

According to a bulletin sent to GM dealers, cars suffering from the issue might have a transmission shifter that doesn’t properly transmit an electrical signal that enables the ignition key to be turned back from the “accessory” position to the “lock” position.

Read the entire article GM offers to fix 2.2 million small cars over stuck keys in ignition

Small cars blunder in latest round of IIHS small overlap test

Small cars received poor score in the latest round of small overlap front crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Twelve small cars underwent the latest round of test – which assesses how well vehicles could handle 40-mph collisions wherein there is 25 percent frontal overlap with a five-foot-tall barrier on the driver’s side – but only the Mini Cooper Countryman received a good rating.

On the other hand, the lithium ion batteries of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and Nissan Leaf EV survived the test. Despite that, the Leaf still received a poor rating in the small overlap test after it got significant damage that could result to left knee, thigh and lower leg injuries.

The Volt, meanwhile, got an acceptable rating in the small overlap test. It went on to received up IIHS’s only Top Safety Pick+ accolade after this round of testing. The Top Safety Pick+ designation is given to any vehicle who received: a good or acceptable rating in the small overlap test; a good rating on the other four tests; and advanced or superior ratings for front crash prevention.

Read the entire article Small cars blunder in latest round of IIHS small overlap test

Opel to focus on smaller cars with more techs from parent GM

Opel is targeting to return to profit and hike its market share in Europe by concentrating on smaller cars that features more components from General Motors, according to chief executive Karl-Thomas Neumann said. Opel-Vauxhall targets to become the second largest carmaker in Europe by 2022, aiming to hike its market share in the region to 8 percent.

That goal should be reached by introducing 27 new models and 17 new engines between 2014 and 2018 – all featuring more technologies from parent GM. Neumann remarked that Opel needs to use a global platform to be really profitable, since such will pave way to achieving economies of scale in the auto business.

Opel and its profits has been hurt by management disruption, lack of small car offerings as well as the conflict between GM's goal of global economies of scale and Opel's stress on catering to the local market. In April 2013, GM vowed a EUR4-billion ($5.2 billion) investment in Opel by the end of 2016 to support the development of new cars – as part of its bid to connect the Opel and Buick product ranges to share development costs.

Read the entire article Opel to focus on smaller cars with more techs from parent GM

Mitsubishi has introduced the smaller Space Star, the replacement for the Colt subcompact hatchback. According to a report from Automotive News Europe, a Mitsubishi spokesman said that because of the fuel efficiency of the Space Star and its retail price of 9,690 euros, its market share will increase compared to its competition like the Nissan Micra and the Fiat Panda.

Mitsubishi said that the model is expected to reach annual sales of about 20,000 units in Europe, which include Russia and the Ukraine. The automaker anticipates that Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Austria, and Norway will be the largest markets in Europe. JATO Dynamics said that last year, Mitsubishi sold 18,140 Colts in Europe.

This quarter, the Space Star started to be shipped to dealerships in Europe from Mitsubishi's factory in Laem Chabang, Thailand. Ian Fletcher, an analyst for IHS Automotive, said that this model is expected to appeal to customers who are more concerned about reliability than style.

Read the entire article Mitsubishi replaces the Colt with the smaller Space Star in Europe

Ford Motor Co. sold 306,405 Ford Fiestas in Europe in 2012, according to JATO Dynamics. This means that Ford sold a new Ford Fiesta every two minutes in 2012 in 30 European markets monitored by JATO, making this model the top-selling small car in the region. Overall, Ford sold 953,174 cars in Europe last year.

Ford recently disclosed that it sold over 1.4 million vehicles across all of the 51 European markets where it operates in last year. Ford sold nearly 110,000 Fiesta in the United Kingdom in 2012, allowing the model to retain its title as the best-selling car, which it has been holding since 2009. In anticipation of the arrival of the latest Fiesta model, Ford’s 530 dealers in the UK scheduled Jan. 24, 2012 as “Fiesta Day” to help manage exceptional levels of interest in the ever-popular model.

Ford likewise launched a new Facebook app that analyses information on profile pages to match users with their ideal Fiesta specification. The Facebook app encourages visitors to submit their ideas on the perfect 24 hours in a new Fiesta – as already experienced and enjoyed by singing star Jessie Ware. Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing, Sales and Service, Ford of Europe, remarked that the Ford Fiesta had a “fantastic” 2012 in the UK, Europe and across the world.

Read the entire article Ford Fiesta is top-selling small car in Europe in 2012

Audi is thinking about creating a small car for the U.S. market that has the same size as a Mini, according to a report from Edmunds. In a recent interview, Scott Keogh, Audi of America president, said that the company is focused on the redesigned Audi A1, which is scheduled to start selling in Europe in around four years. Keogh said that the company sees a prime opportunity based on the change in demographics as well as the CAFÉ standards, among other things.

He said that the company will make an in-depth examination of the second generation of the car. CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) refers to a broad range of U.S fuel economy regulations that all car companies would need to comply with. Specifically, automakers have to raise the combined fuel economy of their vehicles by 4% each year through 2025.

He also said that a shift in the U.S. population will increase the demand for small luxury cars. He believes that the U.S. is “urbanizing dramatically.” He added that plenty of rich people are going back to the cities so they will be viewing smaller car concepts. The present-generation A1 is a high-selling, well-reviewed hatchback offered in Europe. The three-door model started selling in late 2010 while the five-door Sportback was added in late 2011.

Read the entire article Audi wants a small car for the US market to take on the MINI Cooper

Plans made by General Motors and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen for the joint development of a large car have been dropped, the two companies confirmed. Instead, they will broaden their partnership and will be developing a new generation of small gasoline engines. They have agreed to work on three vehicle platforms, with the first models to start selling in 2016, and to establish a purchasing joint venture in Europe as the first projects in their alliance.

These joint projects are: (1) a compact crossover for the Peugeot brand and a compact multipurpose vehicle for GM's Opel and Vauxhall marques; (2) a subcompact multipurpose vehicle that will be used by PSA and Opel/Vauxhall; (3) an improved low-CO2 subcompact-segment platform that will be used for Opel/Vauxhall's and PSA's next generation of cars in Europe and other regions.

According to the statement, the Opel/Vauxhall, Peugeot and Citroen models will be very distinctive and will be entirely consistent with the characteristics of the respective brands. The companies will jointly work on a next generation of high-performance, fuel-efficient small gasoline engines taken from PSA's EB global small gasoline engine program. Earlier this year, PSA presented the EB 1.0-liter and 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine range on the Peugeot 208 subcompact.

Read the entire article GM-PSA drop plans to jointly develop large car, will go for small cars, engines

Infiniti may possibly produce a new small car in Mexico, according to Johan de Nysschen, the marquee's new global president. De Nysschen, a former Audi of America President, said that it is only reasonable to produce in or near the United States if the vehicle being built is targeted primarily towards the US. It should be noted that the former Audi of America President was influential in Audi's decision in April 2012 to construct its first North American vehicle assembly plant in Mexico.

He added that producing vehicles for the global market is more complicated since the company has to consider its aspirations for further growth in Europe as well as South America.

He said that if Infiniti exports vehicles from the US to Europe, it has to pay import duties. But if the company exports vehicles from Mexico, it doesn’t pay these duties. According to de Nysschen, these are some of the factors to consider when Infiniti considers where to build its next plant.

Read the entire article Infiniti global president says carmaker may build new small car in Mexico

Mitsubishi is undecided on whether it will offer its new Mirage minicar in the U.S. Its annual earnings presentation given last Friday indicated that the Mirage will be launched in North America in the first quarter of 2013. The Mirage nameplate has not been seen in the U.S. since 2002.

Mitsubishi spokesman Roger Yasukawa said last Friday that the car will be offered in Canada but whether or not it will be available in the U.S. remains “under consideration."

Yasukawa said that it’s “still 50-50” now. As Mitsubishi ended the run of the Eclipse, Spyder and Endeavor last year, it would seem to make sense that the automaker has to give its dealers a new product.

Read the entire article Mitsubishi’s new small car may be a Mirage for the United States

It’s likely that during the next few weeks, the trade-in values of compact and mid-sized used cars would peak, according to a senior analyst at NADA Used Car Guide. The factors he cited include a shortage of used-vehicle inventory, increasing gasoline prices, and the demand for fuel-efficient vehicles. Jonathan Banks said that over the next two months, the prices for all used-vehicle segments will stay stable but the clean, late-model used vehicles, which are younger than six years old and have reasonable mileage, will command top dollar. The used-car guide said that from March to April, the used-vehicle prices for compact and mid-sized cars increased by an average of $300, or 3%. Since the year started, its values have increased an average of $500, or 4%.

Banks said that typically, used-vehicle prices peak in March and by the end of the year, they depreciate about 15%. He said that due to an inventory shortage of popular models that result from fewer off-lease vehicles going back to the market and fewer trade-ins, the used-car prices are expected to peak in April or May. In a statement, Banks said that new-car dealers are finding it difficult to consistently stock reliable, well-maintained used vehicles due to the persistent decline in the used-vehicle supply that started in 2009.

This meant that dealers would have to be aggressive with trade-in offers for in-demand used vehicles. Manheim Consulting said that its Used Vehicle Value Index in March was at 126.2, up from 125.8 in February and 124.2 in March 2011. However, this is lower than the record 127.8 posted in May 2011. The index calculates changes in wholesale used-vehicle prices and had adjustments for make, model and time of year. In 1995, it began at 100. According to Tom Webb, Manheim chief economist, the index has to have an "upward drift.” He also said that wholesale prices would later get to the May 2011 peak but before this occurs, the prices may level off.

Read the entire article Trade-in values on used small cars may rise in the United States, says NADA

To cut the costs of new-car production, Volvo is on the search for a partner to share in the development of its future small car range, the Financial Times reported. Volvo has been owned by Geely since 2010 when the Chinese firm bought it from Ford. Volvo is eager to help in dividing the costs of making new cars. Volvo’s chief executive Stefan Jacoby told the FT that the company is open to the idea of partnering.

He said that the company is “open for collaboration in a win-win situation for sharing platforms, for sharing engines and for a general higher scale of economics.”

Jacoby said that there are several companies being considered but no detailed discussions have taken place yet. Since Jacoby moved to Volvo from Volkswagen in August 2010, he has streamlined the company and pushed for the development of a modular range of engines and a model platform that could underpin all types of vehicles from a hatchback to a large saloon.

Read the entire article Volvo looking for a partner to develop small cars

The European division of Toyota Motor Corp. will handle global planning for small cars starting January 2012. The reorganization is part of the carmaker’s initiative to expand its model research and development in Europe. Following the shift, Toyota Europe will develop the company’s future minicar, subcompact and compact models.

The reorganization will also see the marketing segment’s separation from planning and its reconnection to sales. As part of the shakeup, Alain Uyttenhoven will serve as Europe’s vice president of product planning effective January 1. He will be responsible for deciding the fate of the next Aygo minicar, Yaris/Vitz subcompact and Auris/Corolla compact.

The marketing department, previously handled by Uyttenhoven, will now be bundled with sales and will be handled by former Toyota France CEO Daniele Schillaci. Schillaci will serve as Europe's senior vice president for sales and marketing.

Read the entire article Toyota Europe to handle global product planning for small cars

Lincoln has scrapped plans to build the MkC and will instead, turn its attention to the new CUV, which is known internally as the MkD, according to sources inside FoMoCo. A source divulged that Ford has worries that the MkC would attract sales away from the larger MkZ sedan. About 16 months ago, Ford Motor Company embarked on a plan for the Lincoln brand to become as prominent as Audi and BMW.

Back then, Ford determined that Lincoln will be offering seven new or heavily revised vehicles within four years. Ford had planned to make a production version of the Concept C that’s named the MkC.

This was supposed to feature a Ford Focus derived platform and several other new technologies to distinguish it from the Audi A3 and Lexus CT. Ford then formed a Lincoln-only team composed of luxury experts, designers and engineers. It was also reported that the 2013 Lincoln MkZ has been delayed again. Its launch was supposed to be in first quarter of 2012 but it was changed to June 2012.

Read the entire article Lincoln scraps plans to build the MKC small car, will go for MKD CUV

Chevrolet doesn’t appreciate how much tuners like diminutive import cars and decided to do something about it. At the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the brand displayed an amazing lineup of customized small rides. These include almost 20 Sonics in both hatchback and sedan versions. Ten Cruzes are set to be at the Chevy stand too, as well as a collection of Camaros and Covettes that we’ve come to expect.

Jim Campbell, vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports, said that Chevrolet is taking this chance to put the focus on its small cars. This move is a part of General Motors' strategy to benefit from the multibillion-dollar automotive aftermarket.

Chevrolet is beefing up its stand in SEMA since the show gets the attention of around 115,000 industry observers and insiders. It is actually the biggest trade show of its kind in the U.S. Chevrolet wants to reinforce the launch of the Sonic, which has started to arrive. It also wants consumers to pay attention to the Cruze, which became available in the market for about a year.

Read the entire article 2011 SEMA Show: Chevrolet and its small cars

Test production will start in the second half of this year for the small Dodge brand car, according to Chrysler Group LLC. This car is expected to trigger the U.S. government requirements to increase the ownership stake of Fiat S.p.A.

Fred Goedtel, head of Chrysler's vehicle assembly operations, said this August, tooling for the small Dodge brand car will be installed at Chrysler's Belvidere, Ill., assembly plant.

He added that pilots will start in the fall and that production will officially start in the first quarter. Ralph Gilles, head of Chrysler design, said that the company has already accomplished the design work on the car. He said that Chrysler is “really focused” on this car, which is expected to trigger the final government ownership milestone.

Read the entire article Chrysler to begin test production of Dodge small car later this year

Mitsubishi’s Global Small Concept car, the e-compact, is expected to lead to the creation of a production supermini, which has a size that’s between a city car and the outgoing Colt, in 2012. This car, which measures 3.74 meters long and is built in Thailand, will be sold in all of Mitsubishi’s markets with only minor regional changes.

In an Autocar interview, Mitsubishi’s global product director, Gayu Eusegi, said that there will be differences in engine calibration to comply with differing emissions regulations.

There will also be differences in details such as “colors and interior fabrics.” This is a bolder stance than what Nissan has taken with the new Micra, which didn’t do so well in developed markets, even with the larger regional differences.

Read the entire article Mitsubishi to sell production version of Global Small Concept car in 2012

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation presented its Concept-Global Small vehicle, the "e-compact" at the Geneva Motor Show. Mitsubishi recently introduced "Project Global" in the C/D-Segments but it is now pushing the boundaries of global product planning with the launching of “Global Small" in the B-Segment.

This consists of next-generation architecture with built-in flexibility to accommodate (by design) customer requirements in all of the world markets in the lower sector.

This "e-compact" was previewed as "Concept-Global Small" at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show and it is scheduled to be shown in production form near the end of this year, before production starts in early 2012 at an all-new plant that the company is putting up in Thailand, its third factory in this strategic production hub.

Read the entire article Mitsubishi Concept Globall Small makes its debut at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show

Sales of new smaller cars that were recently introduced appear to be assured as U.S. gasoline prices are on the rise and on track to reach the $4-plus per gallon peak that was hit in 2008 right before the recession.

But according to analysts and executives who were interviewed at the Detroit Auto Show, they are sure that the forecasts are wrong but they can’t determine yet by how much.

Years of design and manufacturing planning can be wiped out in days by the drastic fluctuations in the price of gasoline and of the materials that make up the thousands of car components such as steel, aluminum, copper and platinum.

Read the entire article Sales of small cars likely to go up with gasoline-price increases

These are the official sketches from Mitsubishi of its new small global car, which will be built in a new production facility in Thailand. This new plant is the carmaker’s first production facility in 16 years. As soon as production of this new car begins, this plant will have a capacity of 150,000 units but from 2013, it could be increased up to 200,000 units.

Priced at 400,000 baht in Thailand, this entry-level model will be available in Japan and in growing markets.

Notably, the car’s design hints at the styling for the next Colt. However, Mitsubishi has not yet confirmed if this “Global Small” car will arrive in Europe in its current form. This small global car is slated to be launched this March at the Geneva motor show. It will be shown in fuel-efficient 1.0- and 1.2-litre engines.

Read the entire article Mitsubishi releases official sketches of new small global car
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