The American Auto industry is finally on a comeback track. For years Detroit all but ignored the compact car market, leaving Japan to dominate the category. Even as the country went into a financial depression and gas prices skyrocketed, Detroit turned out one giant gas guzzler after another. Today it seems that America’s automobile hub has finally seen the light.
Sales on large SUVs once fueled the car market here in America. It seemed every middle class family owned one. The highways were jammed with large 7 passenger vehicles often only carrying 1 person. As the summers heated up and more people traveled the demand for gas drove up the price of fuel. When the price rose, many families who couldn’t afford to feed the hungry SUVs traded them in for smaller, more efficient and often foreign vehicles. American car makers, whose focus had not been on the compact market, saw declining sales. Despite this, Detroit continued to push the large vehicles that had once sustained them. Now finally some American car makers are starting to understand.
The Compact Calling
Nearly one quarter of all cars sold in April of this year were compact or subcompact cars. Ten years ago the number was half that amount. American consumers, sending the oil companies a message, are buying smaller more fuel efficient vehicles. If American car makers were to ignore this trend, the companies would only fall deeper in debt.
American Car Revival
Recently Ford and General Motors have shown that American auto companies can rebound and move forward in today’s market. Ford, who was not part of the government bailouts, is leading the subcompact market this year with its ultra-efficient Fiesta. It is the number one selling subcompact in America. General Motors came in a close second last year in the compact market with its Chevrolet Cruze, just behind the Honda Civic.
The Old Way
Fuel efficiency is the key to capturing the American market but it isn’t enough. In the past, American car makers turned out small fuel efficient vehicles but they were the auto equivalent of a shoe box. There was no modern technology and no comforts for the owner. These cars were stripped down models with little appeal for the consumer.
Today, compact cars are loaded with amenities like GPS navigation, bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio and heated leather seats. Today’s American consumer wants a feature rich automobile that can stay on the road longer with less stops at the fuel pumps. If the Big Three can continue to focus more on smaller automobiles with modern technology features and fuel efficiency in the high 30 MPG range, Detroit has the opportunity to not only recover but to soar back into the market.