Compact car sales to experience surge in 2011, due to higher gasoline prices

Article by Christian A., on January 3, 2011

With the rising prices of fuel, compact car sales are also expected to increase in 2011. Last week, the average gasoline price in the United States reached $2.98 a gallon. It appears that automakers have anticipated the demand.

The new 2011 Chevrolet Cruze and the redesigned 2011 Hyundai Elantra are on sale now. Meanwhile, the redesigned 2012 Ford Focus and redesigned 2012 Honda Civic will go on sale next spring. These entries are vital to automakers' new car sales, which rose by 6 percent through November 2010 while the overall market improved by 11 percent.

For the first 11 months of 2010, Honda sold 231,955 Civics, a 2 percent drop when compared to the same period in 2009. Ford’s sales were up 9 percent to 159,679 Focus units. And Hyundai sold 119,150 Elantras, 22 percent higher than sales in 2009.

With each of these compact cars offering peppy engines, the latest technology gadgets and competitive pricing, the small car segment is bound to be a heated one.

As long as fuel prices either increase or hold steady, there will be a demand for these compact cars, many of which boast to exceed a highway fuel economy of 40 mpg.

The US version of the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze is served by any of the two powerful yet fuel-efficient mills: an Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged engine and an Ecotec 1.8L four-cylinder unit. Both mills are part of General Motor’s family of global small-displacement engines designed to be fuel-efficient. These engines are loaded with various performance and efficiency technologies such as full variable valve timing.

Supported by an exhaust-driven turbocharger, the Ecotec 1.4L turbo engine in the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze could perform like a larger mill but could be as efficient as a small-displacement four-cylinder unit. The Ecotec 1.4L turbo engine can deliver up to 138 hp (103 kW) of output and up to 148 lb.-ft. (200 Nm) of torque. This Ecotec 1.4L turbo is fitted as standard on Cruze LT and LTZ models.

In terms of fuel economy, the Ecotec 1.4L turbo engine could allow the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze to travel tip 40 miles on the highway per gallon of fuel, which means it could travel more than 500 miles (800 km) on a single full tank.

LS models of the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, meanwhile, are served by the 1.8L four-cylinder as standard. Having the same basic architecture, the Ecotec 1.8L four-cylinder engine as well as the 1.4L Ecotec 1.4L turbo engine can be mated to either a six-speed manual gearbox or an automatic transmission. [via autonews - sub. required]

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