Survey Shows What Buyers Want – And Their Hesitation to Think Small
TUSTIN, Calif. (Sept. 9, 2009) – A just released study on the future of small cars in the United States shows American consumers are increasingly interested in smaller cars, but with reservations about size and features. The study underscores the challenge automakers face in trying to meet government mandated improvements in fuel economy while still delivering what consumers want and will buy. Many carmakers have recently introduced new, smaller cars to the market and are launching more in the future.
“Our research indicates that American car buyers are definitely willing to buy a more fuel-efficient car, but that they don’t want it to be much smaller than what they are driving today,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, the research firm that conducted the study. “Tomorrow’s successful small car won’t be tiny. It will be reasonably sized, have increased fuel economy, adequate performance and a full load of customer features.”
When I was a kid, I loved all manner of transforming robots. Transformers, Go-bots, Voltron…if it could change shape and function, I loved it. As an adult, I’m no different. I love multi-functional furniture, living spaces, and of course, automobiles.
Apparently, so do a lot of people. Part of the reason that SUVs became so popular was because they were multi-functional. They could carry people in comfort, but they could also be reconfigured to haul cargo. Or, they could be reconfigured to carry both. SUVs gave people the flexibility to adapt the vehicle to their needs, rather than the other way around.
Of course, there’s no reason why lessons learned from the SUV can’t be applied to other kinds of vehicles, and the Honda Fit you see here is one of the best examples of multi-functionality applied to a vehicle at any price. It may be tiny on the outside, but there’s a staggering amount of out-of-the-box smart thinking on the inside that makes it more useful than many vehicles twice its size.
Welcome to VehicleVoice Episode #34
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For the last two weeks, you might have noticed an inordinate number of Minis driving through your town. They were probably traveling in groups, and they were probably loaded with luggage, and snacks and very happy people. Those folks you saw were some of the 7,000 Mini owners taking part in “Mini Takes the States” – a 3,000-mile, two-week, cross-country extravaganza brought to you by the cutest little car in the world.
Mini Marketers are a very clever bunch. Of course, it helps to have as your sole product, one of the most loved brands in the automotive marketplace. But Mini has spent their limited marketing resources on lifting their brand to the height of cool while giving their customers infinite ways to individualize their cars. Hence the saying, “no two Minis are alike.”
The VehicleVoice crew certainly found that to be true at the kickoff party for “Mini Takes the States.” With more than 400 Minis neatly packed into the parking lot at Pirate’s Cove at Monterey Beach in California, the party got underway with limbo contests, good eats, Carribean music, and even Mini Corporate Bigwigs leading the marching band that started this cross country drive. See and hear it all here!
Andrew Cutler, Mini USA Marketing Director
Jim McDowell, Mini’s Vice President of Marketing