View Poll Results: So - will car size increase or decrease, over the next 10 years or so?
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Valentine One baby!!
Yoda of Radar
For the 1977 model year, General Motors introduced a new type of full-size car. The "downsized" B body. It had the same room as the previous B cars, but weighed 400 lb less, had a smaller engine and got much better fuel efficiency.
This sparked a trend throughout the auto industry in downsizing family cars. Of course, GM continued, with in 1978 the new A-body getting the same treatment, with success. And even the X body cars were downsized and even made into a front-wheel drive family car. The F-cars got the fat trimmed as well for 1982. In all, this move really made GM some $$$ and for the most part, these were very good cars.
Ford as well made the old LTD into the "new" Panther LTD for 1979, whose chassis still lives on as the Crown Vic. Chrysler, too poor to develop a new car range, just rebodied their mid-size cars and called them full-size. These cars were a horrible flop. But Chrysler did have success with their also very small Omnirizon models the K-car.
Of course, imported cars were also very tiny. Surely some of us recall the first-generation Honda Civic, a car whose engine and transaxle could be lifted out by hand Or the Toyota Corolla, another car smaller than my sofa.
But since GM downsized in a big way in the late 1970's, cars have continually grown in size. A modern Honda Civic is far larger than an original Honda Accord. A Toyota Corolla is much bigger than an old Camry. A Pontiac Grand Prix is much bigger than a early 1980's LeMans.
In fact, the only downsizing attempt I have seen since the mid 1980's has been the restyle of the Infiniti Q45 for 1996. But now it's bigger than ever, and of course, the 1999 Mercedes S class.
Now, with ever-rising gas prices, will cars begin to downsize again? Or will the trend continue?
I don't think that we will ever downsize again to the point of the original Civic or Corolla in the US because people just won't accept it. What can I say, we like our cars the same way we like our value meals: supersized. But I really think that it's ending with the slow decline of the SUV craze. The death of the Ford Excursion shortly after its introduction proved that automakers in the US had reached the limit. The only reason the H2 persists is because its ridiculous size is just a byproduct of its image, which is what people pay for. The kind of person who would buy one is the same kind of person who isn't going to give a thought for how much it takes to put gas in it.
But, for better or for worse, I think that this kind of person is on his way out. Sure, there are still lots of them. But I think that fuel prices are finally high enough that people are going "Whoa, my tank costs how much to fill?" It's not the top end, the H2 drivers, who see this. It's the people in the middle who have been driving an Expedition, a Trailblazer, or a Grand Cherokee since the mid-90s after graduating from a minivan. They aren't buying the image, they're buying transportation that they feel safe and comfortable with. And one can only be so comfortable putting 25 gallons of premium in your tank at $2.71/gal at every fillup.
By the good graces of the auto industry, the options for this middle group are getting smaller and more reasonable. The SUV won't die but it will shrink. The Rav4, the Pacifica, the Forester, and a dozen others are there to give people their 23mpg instead of 16 without sacrificing that nice, high driving position and the belief that they can handle anything that Mother Nature can throw at them. (Sometimes the latter part is true, sometimes a bit misguided.)
As I see it, hybrid technology is the wild card. It is the one technological development that might actually save some of the larger vehicles, such as the Lexus RX400h. I don't see it breathing new life into the monsters, but it may just keep the size up a bit until standards change and the 30mpg that it gets is no longer impressive. Any way you cut it, physics and dollars will win-out in the end.
So to sum it up, the bottom end won't go anywhere but the top end will come down. The average American car 10 years from now will be quite a bit smaller than it is today.
Nice job explaining that brick I completly agree with you. If you can afford the $50,000 SUV you can defiantly afford the gas. Why isn't the demand of hybrid's so high? A car that gets 50 MPG is awsome! Is it true
about the battery in hybrids is expensive to fix?
There will still be large cars for folks who need to haul the family around, and there will be smaller comfortable cars for those that have a commute or parking issues.
I think all of these cars will continue to be more efficient, safer, and have more creature comforts.
As a honda head I've looked at the hybrids and the reason of most people not looking at them is that with the average driver putting on 12,000 miles a year it would take you 8-10 years to break over even point on a hybrid since they are more exspensive and the cells cost a nice chunk of change to replace.....but you do get a tax break for having a hybrid....
you don't say! tell us how you really feel :wink:
Originally Posted by (in)Sanity
Originally Posted by (in)Sanity
"So to all you SUV drivers...thanks a lot.....I can only hope you get T bonded by an 18 wheeler " <------- maybe my Cummins turbo-diesel Ram will be lucky enough to T-bone your Nissan one day.
Not a very nice thing to say now, is it? :wink:
Being nice is not always required, I use to be a biker to by the way. Death doesn't bother me, it's one of the reasons I stopped ridding. Some people wanted me to stay around a bit longer.
Originally Posted by StealthR1
Ohhh and just to help prove my point.
"Oil prices jumped one percent Monday to move above $60 a barrel, a record, as robust U.S. demand, apparently unimpeded by high fuel costs, strained global production and refining capacity."
SUV's DEMAND twice as much fuel. Here in Phoenix looking around it appears about 40% of the vehicles on the road are SUV's and 10-20% trucks. Cars feel like a minority here. The amount of fuel used by these larger vehicles is over twice what the cars in the area are using. We are not talking little RAV 4's here. We are talking about Yukons and Expeditions and Explorers. Those that get around 12-14 mpg (or less). Compare that to a car that on average gets 24-30 mpg.
So yes, I once again thank the SUV drivers for the high fuel costs. They may not be the only reason but they sure don't help things out.